Castilo claims Lingfield cash
Castilo Del Diablo completed a profitable day at Lingfield for David Simcock by snaring the lion's share of the £45,000 coral.co.uk Handicap.
The turf course, and a fair amount of the nearby Surrey countryside, remains saturated but the all-weather circuit was able to keep the racing show on the road with Newcastle's jumping meeting the only other British fixture able to go ahead.
Castilo Del Diablo (9-2) had not won for more than a year, despite a sequence of placed efforts during 2013, but was held patiently on the inside by Jamie Spencer through most of the mile and a half before a perfect gap opened for him after the swing for home.
Connections of Modernstone, the 4-1 favourite, could feel slightly aggrieved as the fast-finishing runner-up was beaten only a nose with jockey Andrea Atzeni putting up 2lb overweight.
Simcock said: "I'm pleased they put such good prize money on and they were rewarded with a competitive field.
"The horse has been called a few names but I think he's genuine and he's had a wind operation and problems with his legs.
"He's better on all-weather than turf, so we'll have to be looking towards back here Good Friday. I imagine we'd put him away during the summer."
Spencer was penalised for his winning ride though, being found guilty of not giving his mount time to respond to the whip for which he incurred a three-day ban (January 18-20).
Paolo Sirigu was also in trouble for his ride on eventual fourth Grendisar and was given a 10-day ban (January 18-25, 27-28) for failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing.
Simcock initiated a double in division two of the 32Red Maiden as 20-1 chance Fractal wore down the William Buick-ridden 1-3 favourite Anglo Irish.
Fractal had not provided much inspiration on his first two starts at Kempton and Simcock said: "He doesn't like the kickback so we took him wide all the way.
"This isn't going to be his surface but he should be a nice middle-distance horse in time."
Buick, refreshed from a Christmas break in Norway, had guided John Gosden's Joyful Friend to an emphatic success in division one.
The 11-4 favourite was a promising sixth on last month's debut and pulled nine lengths clear of the remainder, while the withdrawal of Lil Rockerfeller meant a deduction of 20p in the pound.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed H Altayer, said: "She was very green but enjoyed the step up in distance.
"It's job done for her, as she's well-bred and now very valuable, but you could see her winning again somewhere after that."
Steve Woodman bravely returned to the track the day after family tragedy as Chevise struck for his Chichester stable in the bookmakers.co.uk Sprint Series Round 1 Handicap.
Woodman's brother John, a former jockey and bloodstock agent, died on Friday from pancreatic cancer.
Chevise (20-1) often runs well on this Polytrack and Atzeni stole up the inside and drove the mare a short-head in front of Parisian Pyramid.
"It's very emotional and we thought about not running today," said Woodman.
"I've actually had this in mind for her since her last run in November and we can look at the final now."
Mick Easterby's Perfect Pasture (11-4 joint-favourite) will graduate to the Good Friday supercard if continuing his dramatic rate of progress, making it six wins on the bounce in the Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap.
Young apprentice Joe Doyle could be a name to follow in 2014 after following up on Ocean Applause (3-1 favourite) after their New Year's Eve course victory in the Coral Mobile "Just Three Clicks To Bet" Classified Claiming Stakes.
The application of a visor on Kyllachy Star (10-1) had the desired effect as he won for the first time since the 2011 Chester May meeting in the Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap.
Ed Walker learned his trade with Luca Cumani and managed to win with one of his mentor's former horses, Indian Jack (5-1), in the Ladbrokes Handicap.
"That's the first winner of 2014 and our first from Warren Place," said Walker. "He ran well first time for us here but then they went a crawl at Kempton. I'm keen to try him over a mile and a quarter first, then we'll think about Good Friday."