Jason Hart kept things simple on Mind The Crack in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap at Haydock – and made sure every post was a winning one.
Having shaped well in three outings last year for Mark Johnston without winning, the gelding made no mistake on his seasonal return at Lingfield in May.
On his handicap debut off a mark of 83 here, Mind The Crack never looked in any danger, pulling further and further clear to win by three lengths in very testing ground.
Jason Maguire, racing manager for winning owners Paul and Clare Rooney, said: “He obviously loved the ground – he stays really well and he’s not hard on himself, (and) you could see he was flicking his ears in front.
“I’d say he’d get further than this (mile and a half), and (assistant trainer) Charlie (Johnston) thought he might be well handicapped.
“I don’t think he needs it, but he certainly handles it very well.
“He might be a horse for the Melrose (Stakes, at York) later in the year.”
Cold Stare relished the mud to run out a clear-cut winner of the Betway Dash Handicap.
David O’Meara’s four-year-old is building up a real mudlark record and came with a sweeping run up the middle of the track for Harry Bentley.
The 12-1 chance won by two and a quarter lengths from Lord Oberon.
Mike Prince, of owners Middleham Park Racing, said: “He did it nicely. The ground is so key for him.
“It was a funny race he ran in at Chester last time out (almost pulled up) – they sort of all came in on top of him.
“I thought six furlongs might be his trip, but it’s all about the ground. I assume he’ll end up at Ayr in whatever Cup he gets into.
“We’ll keep him ticking over, but it depends on how long the soft ground lasts as to if he’ll be out again soon.”
Came From The Dark, having just the fourth start of his life and first in a handicap, ran out a ready winner of the Betway Sprint Handicap.
Ed Walker’s grey was ridden by Gerald Mosse, and the Frenchman’s white gloves could soon be spotted moving through the field with menace.
Sent off at 9-1, he had two and a quarter lengths to spare over Glorious Emaraty.
“He loved the ground, showed a good attitude and travelled nice all the way,” said Mosse.
“He quickened quite nicely – when he hit the front he waited for the other one a little, but he behaved well.
“It’s the first time I’ve ridden him, but I was pleased with his attitude. It’s good to get my first winner at Haydock for the season.”