sport

Clever Cookie has bite to win

Peter Niven's Clever Cookie secured his third course victory when taking the John Smith's Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh.

Sent off at 5/1 following victory at the track little over a fortnight ago, Clever Cookie made the most of his light weight as he drew clear in the hands of Wilson Renwick, slamming Local Hero by eight lengths.

Niven said: "He likes this track. After his runs in novice hurdles the handicapper gave him a handy mark, so we decided to go that route.

"This is a nice race to win and my mother bred him, so that's an added bonus.

"We'll put him in the Imperial Cup and the County Hurdle, but I don't think he'll run in both.

"I've always thought the world of him and hopefully there's more to come."

Another possible Cheltenham Festival candidate is Ericht, who was much too good for his opponents in the John Smith's Future Champions Novices' Chase.

The 2/1 favourite was one of seven runners on the card for champion trainer Nicky Henderson, with another one of those, Top Of The Range, giving Andrew Tinkler a nasty fall at the first fence in this event.

Ericht travelled powerfully throughout in the hands of Barry Geraghty and went to the front from the tiring Witness In Court early in the home straight.

The result was scarcely in doubt from that point as the market leader safely negotiated the remaining obstacles and came home nine lengths clear of Bar De Ligne.

Henderson said: "He doesn't go in soft ground, but we just wanted to get a run into him and we needed a win the way things have been going.

"He was well-in with Paul Nicholls' horse (Funny Star) and one of the dangers (Top Of The Range) was out of the way early on, but he could do no more than win.

"The plan has been the race at Cheltenham (Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap Chase), so we'll just have to see what rating he gets."

On returning to the weighing room, Tinkler revealed he had broken a tooth.

Wyse Hill Teabags benefited from a beautifully-judged ride from Grand National-winning jockey Ryan Mania as he made every yard of the running in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh.

Jim Goldie's nine-year-old jumped accurately throughout the extended three-mile contest and an injection of pace rounding the home bend caught many of his opponents out.

Mister Dillon and Barry Geraghty did their best to reel in Wyse Hill Teabags after the final flight, but the 10/1 shot, backed on course from an opening 16/1, dug deep to fend off his challenge by two lengths.

Goldie said: "It was his first attempt over three miles and he got the trip well."

Mania swiftly completed a double as Sandy Thomson's Seeyouatmidnight caused another upset in the Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial.

The six-year-old point-to-point winner struck at 66/1 when defeating last year's Champion Bumper runner-up Regal Encore on his debut under Rules at Hexham, but was still a 22/1 shot stepping up to three miles here, despite that success.

Seeyouatmidnight was never too far off the pace and took up the running with a bold leap heading down the back straight.

It was evident a long way from home Tony McCoy was not entirely happy on 4/11 favourite Racing Pulse and although the champion jockey persevered, it was eventually to no avail.

Seeyouatmidnight held a clear advantage over the odds-on shot jumping the final flight and pulled further clear on the run-in to score by nine lengths.

Thomson said: "That was fantastic. I can't really get my head round it! That really was something else.

"He is not in at Cheltenham and I don't think I am going to be tempted. He is a three-mile chaser in the making, so in a way I'm glad we didn't put him in at Cheltenham because we might have been tempted to go.

"Chasing is going to be his game, he is a brilliant jumper.

"We'll see how things go, but we might have a look at something for him at Aintree."