Double boost for Ellison team
Brian Ellison will head to Champions Day on Saturday full of confidence after bagging a double, albeit under a different code, at Wetherby.
The Malton handler, who claimed the Irish Cesarewitch with Montefeltro last weekend, will saddle his first Group One runner in England as Top Notch Tonto tackles the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
He was added to the field at a cost of £70,000 and at least after the victories of Mixed Message (15/8 favourite) in the Spinal Research Rachel Wright Memorial Hurdle and Stormy Weather (17/2) in the Read racinguk.com/columnists Handicap Hurdle, Ellison will know his horses are in good heart.
Mixed Message was having just her third run for the yard having transferred from John Mackie and won by a length and a quarter, but it would be fair to say there is work to be done in the jumping department.
Ellison said: "She'll improve on that, definitely. She looked pretty green and didn't jump well but no matter how much schooling you do with them at home, it's completely different doing it at racing pace.
"She'll be OK, I think. The Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle here on Charlie Hall day might be an idea."
Stormy Weather was a first winner at the first attempt for Nathan Moscrop having joined the stable from James Ewart.
"He's been with us a couple of months but that's his first ride for me, so it's a good start," said Ellison. "He's a good, old horse. He's a nice ride and he needs putting in front at the right time - he has to come late.
"He might go chasing again. He hacked up first time but then he ran on heavy ground and he hated it. If he went again, it would be on better ground."
The Charlie Longsdon and Noel Fehily bandwagon rolled into Wetherby and they left with the feature Bobby Renton Handicap Chase as Grandads Horse got up close home.
Longsdon can do little wrong at present but despite the 2/1 favourite travelling sweetly into the straight, he was all out to beat Tara Rose and No Planning.
In the end a big jump at the last sealed a length-and-a-quarter win, but Fehily revealed afterwards the persistent rain that fell through the afternoon was not in his favour.
"I wouldn't say I was confident that I'd get there. The ground was soft enough for him but he's got away with it," said Fehily. "To be fair to him, he didn't run too badly (seventh) in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen but he made a bad mistake down the back. After that his chance had gone, but he ran a nice race afterwards.
"This wasn't quite as good a race so he was entitled to win, I thought."
Tony Coyle was thankful the Claim Your Free Bets At welovefreebets.co.uk Handicap Chase was the second race on the card for Lucky Landing (13/2), after which the going was officially changed to good to soft.
He came with a late rattle under Fehily to beat Stagecoach Pearl by two and a quarter lengths.
"I didn't fancy him at all today, I thought the ground had gone.," said Coyle. "That will be it until April now, he can't handle the soft."
John Ferguson's Three Kingdoms (9/4 favourite) was an easy winner of the Poplar Farm Caravan Park Novices' Hurdle in the considerate hands of Denis O'Regan.
Lie Forrit (13/2) returned to winning ways on his first start for Lucinda Russell in the Don't Miss The bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting Handicap Hurdle.
Having his first start over timber since the 2010 World Hurdle, he was racing off just 131 having been chasing for former trainer Willie Amos.
Making all under Peter Buchanan, he won unchallenged by three and a half lengths.
"That's was great to see. I knew he'd got his enthusiasm back but I was a bit worried about the tactics after he tried to run out at Aintree once," said Russell.
"There's a three-mile-three hurdle at Kelso in a few weeks we'll look at, as long as the handicapper doesn't go mad. He'll stay hurdling for the time being."