Maire Banrigh looks to be another classy recruit over fences for Dan Skelton after making a winning return in the Finnick Group Novices’ Handicap Chase at Stratford.
Despite giving weight away to all her rivals, the giant-framed seven-year-old, who is part owned by John Hales, made her first start in 347 days a triumphant one with a decisive 15-length success in the two-mile-one-furlong prize.
Skelton said of the 6-4 winner: “To be fair, everyone has been really patient with her and she went back to the Hales’ in the winter as she just had a bit of a niggle. She has jumped beautifully today and we are very happy with her.
“If the ground is fine, we will go to Bangor for a Listed mares’ novice chase in November and if it’s not, then we will just wait.
“We are delighted with our novice chasers at the moment. She is at the very start of her career and we just hope we can make her into something.”
Shantou Express stamped his authority over his rivals in the manner of a horse going places when landing the Acorns Children’s Hospice Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race by nine lengths.
Winning trainer Kim Bailey said of the 5-6 shot: “He had already showed his form last season. I was disappointed he got beat at Ludlow, but he was very green.
“We always intended to go to the Land Rover bumper with him to see if he was man enough to do it, but he came back wound up.
“He will stay in bumpers this season. The way he has done it shows he is a nice horse.
“It was Ned Curtis’ first ride since joining us so it was nice to give him a winner.”
Emma Lavelle praised conditional jockey Henry Platt for his work behind the scenes with Boreham Bill after he gained his first win in more than 20 months when holding Neverbeen To Paris off by three-quarters of a length in the Typecraft All Things Print Handicap Hurdle.
The winning trainer said of the 6-1 winner: “Henry Platt has done a great job with him at home and he was just more relaxed.
“He was carrying a bit more condition, but he did it well and jumped better today. Everything was a lot more positive with him.
“I’m delighted for him to get his head back in front and for the owners as it has been a long time between drinks.”
The Accountant made light work of 15lb hike in the weights for his recent success at Worcester when only needing to be pushed out with hands and heels to take the Finnick Group, Design & Print Solutions Novices’ Handicap by three and a half lengths.
Jack Quinlan, rider of the Amy Murphy-trained 11-2 winner, said: “Coming back in trip to the extended two and a quarter miles was a bit of a worry, but he has improved for the visor though and it seems to have given him a lot of confidence.”
Quinlan is looking forward to seeing The Accountant’s Grade One-winning stablemate Kalashnikov back on track, with the Virgin Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree later this month an option.
He said: “I can’t wait to get back on him. I’ve been happy at home and he did his first bit of schooling the other week.
“The Old Roan has been banded about and that would seem a logical starting point as we know he acts at the track.”