Punters over the Moon
A possible tilt at the Crabbie's Grand National could be on the cards for Rose Of The Moon after David O'Meara's grey won at Wetherby.
The nine-year-old is laden with stamina and having been given a chance by the handicapper his confidence will be sky high once more.
Having looked a promising novice - one of his two previous wins was over this extended three miles - he lost his way somewhat after being upped in class at Newbury.
Rose Of The Moon was then beaten a long way over the National fences in the Becher Chase but dropped another 3lb and down in class he was able to stamp his authority.
Left to battle it out with Real Milan over the last six furlongs, the 3-1 chance jumped far more fluently in the straight for Tony McCoy and gradually pulled nine lengths clear under hands-and-heels riding.
"He won here last season so obviously likes the place," said O'Meara.
"The key to him is he has to be fresh, so we'll be bearing that in mind for the future.
"He ran in the Becher Chase so you'd think the Grand National would probably have to come into calculations, with races like the Midlands and Scottish Nationals, too.
"We took him out at Newcastle the other day as that was heavy but I felt today it walked more soft than heavy so he took his chance. Good to soft is best for him, I think."
While that was the feature event on the card, arguably the most interesting race was the Download New Racing UK iPad App "National Hunt" Novices Hurdle, won by the Philip Hobbs-trained Tiqris (5-4 favourite).
Not beaten far behind subsequent Tolworth runner-up Josses Hill at Newbury, he made the long trek from Hobbs' Minehead yard in Somerset worthwhile with a good display, beating the promising Secrete Stream by four lengths.
Jockey Richard Johnson said: "He'd run two nice races at Newbury and on good ground I think he'd want two and a half miles.
"Whether he'd go for another novice or be sent handicapping is a decision Philip will have to have with the owner."
Certification made nearly every yard of the running to open his account at the second time of asking in the Watch On 3 Devices racinguk.com/anywhere Juvenile Maiden Hurdle.
A fine third on his jumps debut at Newbury, Jonjo O'Neill's Rayak was second in the same race and the pair met again, but the market spoke in favour of John Ferguson's four-year-old, with Certification sent off the 5-4 favourite.
Rayak joined him at the last but Certification found more off the bridle for Denis O'Regan to win going away by two and a quarter lengths.
"He did it the hard way. I didn't want to lead but no-one else did," said O'Regan.
"He's a fine, big horse and he should be all right in handicaps."
O'Neill left with a winner, though, as Catching On (11-2) took the finale under Richie McLernon.
"He's been very disappointing, we thought he was a nice horse at home. That's a bit more like it but it wasn't much of a race," said O'Neill.
Sharney Sike ran out a game winner of an incident-packed totepool Medieval Day - Saturday 1st February Handicap Chase under 7lb claimer Daragh Bourke.
He looked to have plenty to do approaching three out as Little Glenshee was still travelling powerfully at the head of affairs.
But Nick Alexander's grey fell for the second time in succession and brought down Kykate, who was still going well.
Stuart Coltherd's Sharney Strike (5-2 favourite) then had to see off the challenges of Be My Deputy and Harris Hawk over the final two fences and held on by three-quarters of a length.
"Daragh said he hated the ground so he's done well to win," said Hogg.
"I'd imagine the plan will be to step up in trip now. He can't get much of a rise (in the handicap) for that."
The step up in distance worked wonders for Rocky Stone (11-2) in the wetherbyracing.co.uk Handicap Hurdle, another winner for Donald McCain and Jason Maguire.
"He's a grand horse and the step up in trip was what he wanted," said McCain.
Willie Amos has found the key to Arc Warrior (12-1), who defied a 9lb rise to win successive races in the Racing UK-sponsored handicap chase under Brian Harding.