sport

Crosse savours Fontwell win

Dave Crosse was relieved and delighted in equal measure after he rode his first winner for 12 months, overcoming a scare to boot at Fontwell.

Norfolk Sky (5-1) had a long lead when she stepped at the last obstacle, almost unseating Crosse who managed to keep the partnership intact.

So much was her superiority that the Brian Barr-trained mare still won by 17 lengths from Bow Quest, with the 4-6 favourite Midnight Minx half a length away third in the Play Tomb Raider At 32Red Mares' Maiden Hurdle.

"It's a been a year and three days since Sunday. I don't think I've been doing anything wrong, just riding the same. I just haven't been getting on the right type of horse," Crosse told At The Races.

"It was brilliant to get one in the bag. When you go for that length of time, you start to doubt yourself.

"I thought I was riding well, but I just needed a bit of luck which we had at the last."

Tarraco pipped Danners after a battle royal for the Switch To 32Red For 10 Free Handicap Chase.

Aidan Coleman kicked on from four out on the Venetia Williams-trained seven-year-old, who was carrying the Vida Bingham colours made famous by 2009 Grand National winner Mon Mome.

Danners put in a strong challenge but the 11-4 joint-favourite kept him at bay by a short head.

"Halfway up the run-in I thought I was going to get beat, but my fella was on his own for a while and once the other horse came upsides he was very brave and stuck his head down," said Coleman.

"We had the inside rail which makes a lot of difference here. I could see why Mark (Wall on Danners) was trying to get there, but I was just doing enough to hold it and it showed in the end."

Keltic Rhythm (6-4 favourite) defied top weight in gutsy fashion to capture the 32Red for Microgaming Games Handicap Chase.

Trevor Whelan brought Neil King's charge home by a length and three-quarters from Venetian Lad, with only three of the seven starters completing the course.

"He didn't travel great, but he jumped well and when he got to the front he was winging his fences," said the 3lb-claiming conditional, who was banned for two days (April 8 and 10) for using his whip above the permitted level.

Nico de Boinville always had Ben Pauling-trained Malibu Sun (9-4 favourite) up with the pace as they lifted the 32Red Welcomes Microgaming Players Handicap Chase by 11 lengths from Morestead.

Pauling said: "I bought him a while ago quite cheaply out of Ascot. I knew him from Oliver Sherwood's yard. He had a tweak of a leg so I turned him away for 12 to 14 months at my father's farm.

"My mates from university bought him so it's great to get one on the board for them."

Laura Mongan's 12-year-old Sea Cadet (12-1) jumped into the lead at the second last under Jack Sherwood and held Miss Mayfair by a length and three-quarters in the Premier Roulette At 32Red.com "Hands And Heels" Handicap Hurdle.

Amateur rider Freddy Tett escaped with a cut above his eye after a nasty tumble from Elegant Olive at the third flight.

Virtuel D'Oudon (2-1) was all out to hang on by three-quarters of a length from the staying-on Ballyheigue Bay in the Docker Hughes Memorial Novices' Hurdle for trainer David Pipe and jockey Conor O'Farrell.

Sheena West's Justanother Muddle (4-1) gamely gave weight all-round to land his second success in the Play Thunderstruck At 32Red Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.