Manning Estate made a winning return to hurdling with a rallying success at Doncaster in the Betsafe Extra Place Race Handicap Hurdle.
The 15-2 shot fell when running over fences for the first time at Huntingdon in October, but bounced back with a fine performance under Leighton Aspell to claim the feature race for trainer Oliver Sherwood.
Battling Dr Richard Newland’s Mr Caffrey from the final hurdle to the winning post, the six-year-old stayed on resolutely to prevail by five lengths in the three-and-a-half-mile affair.
“It was good to see him back,” said Aspell.
“It was good to see him winning as well. He fell in a chase at Huntingdon and it just took him a while to get over it. He had a few little nasty nicks and knocks and it just took him a little while to recover.
“He can run on most ground, but as it happens we had to wait a while for him to recover and we’ve ended up on good ground today, but he’s a good horse – a versatile horse.”
Donald McCain’s Mr McGo came home 13 lengths ahead of his rivals in the Betsafe Top Price All Runners Handicap Chase, run over an extended two and a half miles.
The nine-year-old scored his first victory over fences after a handful of good attempts on softer ground, pulling away and finding himself untroubled from the last fence to the line for Lorcan Murtagh.
“He’s not had an awful lot of luck, to be honest,” said McCain of his 9-2 winner.
“He’s been set some tough tasks and he’s been running well to get beaten. He’s just getting to a level where he can compete.
“He’s gone close a few times and he’s not done an awful lot wrong, there are just days where it hasn’t worked out and so on.
“We’re finally getting a bit of ground where we can pick and choose races a bit more and this was the obvious option. He’s done it very well and it’ll do him good as well.”
Minella Examiner put a heavy fall at Wetherby behind him to run out a convincing winner of the three-mile Follow Us On Twitter At BetsafeRacing Handicap Chase.
The Warren Greatrex-trained gelding travelled fluently throughout in the hands of Danny Cook to gain a two-length lead over the last, a margin which only widened as he pulled away to record an eventual two-and-quarter-length success.
“It was nice to see Minella Examiner win like that as he had been a bit disappointing up until now,” said Greatrex of the 15-2 chance.
“He had health issues last season and wasn’t quite right, he has been getting better and better and today he jumped well. Danny Cook gave him a brilliant ride and the horse deserved that success after his late fall at Wetherby.
“He had done plenty of schooling since that fall so it was good to see it pay off. We will now look for something similar in a few weeks time, I’m chuffed for the owners as it has been frustrating for them.”
Philip Hobbs’ Zoffee was a runaway winner of the Betsafe Best Odds Guaranteed Juvenile Maiden Hurdle.
Taking the runner-up spot on his last two attempts, the 10-11 favourite went one better on Town Moor to claim a facile 11-length victory ahead of Alan King’s Isolate (6-1).
The Betsafe Novices’ Hurdle went the way of the Nicky Henderson-trained Buzz (13-8) after a lengthy battle to the line.
All hurdles in the home straight were omitted due to the low sun, leaving just four obstacles for the field of 18 to clear.
Henderson’s grey followed a success at Taunton in January, his first run since joining the Seven Barrows stable, with another after edging past 5-4 favourite Glory And Fortune to triumph by a neck.
Getaway Mag was victorious in the Betsafe Racing From Over 40 Countries Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, holding off Henry Daly’s Precious Eleanor to justify her 5-1 favourite tag.
Making her handicap debut after three attempts over hurdles since joining Dan Skelton, the six-year-old was eventually triumphant by a length and a quarter under Bridget Andrews.
“It is the first time she has encountered really good ground and she seemed to appreciate it in what was a competitive race for the grade,” said Skelton.
“When they took the hurdles out I didn’t think that would suit her, but she ended up doing well and fair play to her as she was not far in front turning in.
“She is by Getaway and they tend to have a robust attitude. We purchased her after winning a point-to-point and she has just taken time to find her feet. That sort of trip is fine for her.”