Dubai Hills has Smart purring
Dubai Hills continued his reign as the king of the Fibresand with victory in the feature event on Southwell's most valuable fixture of the year
The Ladbrokes Handicap, a seven-furlong affair worth £11,972 to the winner, provided a seventh victory from only eight starts at the Nottinghamshire course for Bryan Smart's popular seven-year-old.
Sent off the 11/4 favourite under Graham Lee, Dubai Hills was produced for a strong effort over the last couple of furlongs and eventually wore down Frontier Fighter by a neck, with the pair five lengths clear of the rest.
Thirsk-based Smart has been touched by the response of all-weather followers to the gelding.
"He's an amazing horse," said Smart. "We've had some lovely tweets and messages about him. Someone said that they should put up a statue of him at Southwell!
"I've no idea why he likes it there, but he's just a different horse round there and if they keep putting on races there, we'll keep coming.
"There's a race at Wolverhampton for him, I don't think he'll go there, but I think there's another one over seven for him at Southwell coming up, then there's a final at Southwell."
Seven is some way short of the 13 Southwell wins achieved by La Estrella, but Smart said: "Most of La Estrella's wins were in claimers and sellers, this horse has been winning handicaps, so it's a totally different thing. He's got a real following at the course now, they like to see him. He's become a bit of a Southwell legend."
Alan McCabe managed the notable achievement of turning around the form of the ex-David O'Meara Bedloe's Island to strike at 33/1 in the bookmakers.co.uk Handicap, beating Equitania by a head.
The Ron Harris-trained Pensax Lad proved a worthy 5/4 favourite in the 32Red Nursery, while Rock Of Ages (7/2) drew well clear in the 32Red.com Handicap for a four-length call over Tobrata.
Apprentice Jack Garrity and Alpha Tauri (8/1) proved too determined for 11/8 favourite Spitfire in the Best Odds At bookmakers.co.uk Classified Claiming Stakes
Another Ladbrokes Handicap was divided, with legs one and two going to Sakash (9/4 joint-favourite) and Izzy Boy (7/2 joint-favourite) respectively.
No Win No Fee paid out at 4/1 to his supporters in the Ladbrokes Wishes Paula Wilson Happy 50th Handicap.