Crystal shines in Ponte mud
Mr Crystal ended a three-year lean spell in the Flat with a gutsy success on familiar territory in the Pontefract Marathon Handicap.
His last win on the level came in the same race back in 2009 when he went on to take the stayers' championship at the West Yorkshire track.
Micky Hammond's eight-year-old and the long-time leader Riptide served up a thrilling finish in the closing stages of the two miles, five and a half furlongs slog.
It was on the nod as Mr Crystal (9-2) prevailed by a short head to register his third course success and his first win since October 2009 over fences at Wetherby.
The first two pulled 18 lengths clear of Descaro in third.
"Guts and determination won it really. This is not his ground and I've been waiting for a bit better ground for him," said Hammond.
"I thought we might as well run him here than gallop him at home. He's been in such good form at home that I thought he'd take his chance.
"He's in a handicap chase at Wetherby on Sunday but he won't run there now. I would like to get him in a three-mile chase on good ground sometime."
Heavy rain at times made conditions difficult and caused some jockeys to look for better ground on the relatively unused part of the track on the near side.
One race that move did not pay off was in the six-furlong RIU Palace Meloneras Handicap.
Seal Rock led a small group of horses to stick to the conventional route on the far side and it reaped dividends as the 9-2 favourite landed the spoils.
Parisian Pyramid took most of the field wide from the start and though he fared best of those he was only fifth as the first four came from those drawn low.
Drawn one, Seal Rock stayed towards the far rail and Henry Candy's four-year-old pulled a length clear of Mirza under Dane O'Neill.
"I thought we were going to come over but William Carson (on Mirza) said he was going to stay there and I was getting a nice lead off him," said O'Neill.
"I know he's won on good to firm ground but he does appreciate a bit of cut.
"He's a lovely horse and hopefully we'll have some fun with him."
The Subscribe Online @ racinguk.com Maiden Stakes run later on the card was run in a second faster time as Intense Pink (3-1) turned it into a rout.
Striking the front over a furlong and a half from home, the Chris Wall-trained filly bolted away from the opposition.
She went on to win by 14 lengths from Stir Trader even though Paul Hanagan pulled her up to a walk before the line.
"I rode her at Yarmouth last time and she has grown up so much," said Hanagan.
"She loved the ground but I got a shock when I looked round and saw how far I was in front."
Jadanna (16-1) could go for a Listed race for two-year-old fillies at York next month after making a winning debut in the Bhest Racing To School Maiden Fillies' Stakes.
Paul Mulrennan managed to get the daughter of Mujadil into a good position near the rail despite her wide draw and she showed a tidy turn of foot to sweep past the experienced Back In The Frame to win by three lengths.
"She's as green as grass still and Paul did well to get her across to the rail from stall nine," said trainer James Given.
"I think there's a lot more to come and we'll have to think about that Listed race for fillies at York in middle of May."
Flying Applause (9-1) followed up an easy success at Leicester 10 days earlier by coming from last to first to deny Edmaaj by a neck in the Picnic Package - New For 2012 Handicap.
Both trainer Roy Bowring and 3lb claimer Lee Topliss felt the seven-year-old was helped by the company of the loose Law To Himself who unshipped PJ McDonald as the stalls opened.
"That loose horse was a big help. Our horse wanted to keep up with him," said Bowring.
The Michael Bell-trained Ruacana (11-2) ploughed through the difficult conditions to get off the mark in the Pontefract's Got Talent Night On 1st June Handicap.
David Simmonson made all on the Mick Easterby-trained Tapis Libre (15-2) in the NRC Day On Wednesday 2nd May Apprentice Handicap.