Northern Ireland-trained Strongpoint put up a convincing front-running performance to lift the 32Red.com Handicap Hurdle in emphatic fashion at Musselburgh.
Peter Buchanan made his intentions clear from the outset and was always in control on Stuart Crawford’s raider, who went further away in the straight to come home 17 lengths clear of Big Water.
“He’s ridden the horse before so he had a fair idea what to do on him this time. He was second on him at Perth and we’re just delighted he’s managed to get his head in front. I was well pleased with his run at Fairyhouse after a break and he’s come on a bit from it,” County Antrim-based Crawford said.
Kealigolane (6-1) also led from pillar-to-post to take the other �10,000 event on the card, the eastlothian.gov.uk Handicap Chase.
James Reveley ensured there was no slouching in this three-mile heat as he took the field along despite his mount not having tried three miles before. Barry Murtagh’s runner kept up the gallop to win by three and a quarter lengths from Storming Gale.
“He’s a cracking horse and has won every season we’ve had him. We were all pretty confident he’d stay and the hood just switches him off a little bit. He’s a very buzzy horse. We’ll look for something over the Christmas holidays from two and a half to three,” the Cumbrian trainer told Racing UK.
Population made the most of a golden opportunity to open his account over jumps when making all in the 32Red.com Maiden Hurdle. Dictating affairs from the start, the 1-5 shot won as he liked by nine lengths from May’s Boy to make the journey from John Ferguson’s Newmarket stable worthwhile.
“He’s a very talented horse, but he’s been a very frustrating horse. We thought he was going to reach a very high level last season and obviously he didn’t. I’m just pleased for the horse and the team. He didn’t have much to beat but that’s the best he’s jumped and the best he’s travelled for a while so his confidence is definitely getting back,” said jockey Denis O’Regan.
“The right thing was to come here and make the running. Hopefully he can build on this. I think he’s versatile trip-wise and will get two and a half and he might even get three.”
The Dianne Sayer-trained Jack Albert (15-2) outfought Brunello on the run-in to win the 32Red.com Interactive Novices’ Handicap Hurdle by two and a quarter lengths. Wearing blinkers for the first time, the bottom-weight had not been placed in 10 previous attempts but finally got his head in front under Brian Harding.
Luctor Emergo (10-1) appreciated the step up to an extended three miles as he romped to victory in the 32RedPoker.com Handicap Hurdle under Wilson Renwick, while Lord Of Drums (5-2 favourite) made all under Craig Nichol to take the 32Red Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase for trainer Lucinda Russell.
Russell and Renwick combined to complete doubles when It’s High Time (2-1 favourite) collared long-time leader Gurkha Brave close home to claim the 32Red Casino Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines