Shangani bags Newbury gold
Tom Scudamore won on a rare ride for the still all-conquering Venetia Williams stable in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.
His mount Shangani was in the midst of battle with Rebel Rebellion on his outside after the final fence of the Grade Three event before it became evident the pair were closing in on the cordoned-off area which divides the water jump from the run to the winning line.
Ryan Mahon managed to yank Rebel Rebellion back on course in the nick of time but Scudamore slipped up the inside rail and forced the 3-1 favourite home a length and three-quarters ahead.
Mahon was given a four-day ban (March 15-18) for careless riding in allowing his horse to shift left into the whip and seemed to know he might be in trouble. He said: "I was lugging left but I should have corrected him earlier."
Scudamore said: "The other horse was lugging and it wasn't Ryan's fault - he pulled him around the island.
"He couldn't see anything and it's very difficult. We know the rules, but it's happened before and it'll happen again.
"I thought we were heading for the water jump and I couldn't exactly get round him but thankfully the horse has picked up, and it was a lovely spare to get."
Shangani is engaged in the Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham and Williams said: "I was worried he wouldn't get in, but he now has a 5lb penalty, and 50 grand!"
Williams picked up yet another decent Saturday winner in the Barbury International Supporting Greatwood Veterans' Handicap Chase as Liam Treadwell earned his fee on Summery Justice (9-2).
Crabbie's Grand National entry Burton Port appeared to be revitalised by cheekpieces, establishing a clear lead but tiring in the closing stages as Summery Justice forged past and went seven lengths away.
"He's a slow horse but this was the ideal race for him and I was pleased he got a nice lead from Burton Port," said Williams.
Burton Port returned with blood around his mouth and trainer Jonjo O'Neill said: "He's just bitten his tongue. I'm delighted with him as that's the first (good) race he has run for a long time."
Mick Meagher, racing manager for owner Trevor Hemmings, said: "He'll probably run in the National."
There was another possible Cheltenham-bound winner of the Ladbrokes Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
Half of the six runners were wiped out at the second-last, when Seventh Sky fell and brought down 11-8 favourite Tiqris.
Roman Flight, who was in behind, swerved but could not avoid the melee, unseating Kieron Edgar who was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Jumps Road (13-2) was left to prevail by a neck from Kuda Huraa.
Tom Chadney, who runs the Chasing Gold syndicate, said: "Jumps Road has been a great horse for the club all season, although it's very unfortunate for the other three horses.
"The great thing is he'll get a 5lb penalty which will help for his entry in the County Hurdle."
David Arbuthnot was not too surprised to see well-backed 3-1 favourite Westaway steam in 13 lengths clear in the Moore Of Devizes Ltd Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
"He hasn't run many bad races this season and was staying on very well at Wincanton last time," said Arbuthnot.
"He had been dropped to a mark of 113 so I was hopeful. He's in at Sandown next week over two miles and six. I don't want to go, but I might have to if the handicapper puts him up a lot."
It clearly meant a good deal to Lawney Hill to have a televised Saturday success at a big track via the Tony McCoy-ridden 9-4 favourite Billy Twyford in the Betfair Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
"It has been a struggle with the weather this winter - Caroline Keevil said when she won at Kempton last week that it was for all the smaller trainers - and moments like this make it all worthwhile," she said.
Simon Earle and Andrew Thornton combined with Headly's Bridge (14-1) in the Greatwood Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
Puisque Tu Pars (5-1) made a winning debut for trainer Gary Moore and his jockey son Jamie in the West Berkshire Racing Club "Junior" Bumper.