Kieran O’Neill was pleased to give trainer John Best an overdue win with Plantadream at Lingfield and in some style.
After clinching victory with the gelding at Kempton in January, the Irishman had to settle for a runner-up spot with Best’s charge at the Surrey track before the sport was suspended in March.
In the first evening meeting since the resumption on Monday, Plantadream made up for lost time storming home by seven lengths in division two of Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap to leave rivals Divine Messenger and Data Protection trailing behind.
O’Neill said of the 11-2 winner, who had seven lengths in hand of the runner-up: “That was nice. I gave him a bad ride the last day, I rang John and told him that. I kicked on down the hill because we had to.
“I was quite confident coming here today, I thought he had loads left in the tank the last day and John has done some job with him because he keeps improving.
“I didn’t expect him to show that turn of foot off the bend because he was strong in the early stages. He could be anything.”
Lady Bowthorpe also put down a marker for the rest of the season with a smart victory in the first division.
The William Jarvis-trained filly was restless in the stalls and interfered with coming round the bend, but Thomas Greatrex still managed to ride her through the field to edge out Baby Steps by a length and a quarter.
It was a first triumph since the resumption for both jockey and trainer, with the 100-30 shot clinching her second success at Lingfield after a maiden win in August.
Greatrex said: “She showed loads of gears and went through the race nice and settled and picked up really good. I was impressed with her.
“I planned to be handy, but she was a bit quirky in the stalls so we had to sit and suffer, but she finished off really well.
“Mr Jarvis said she was one for this year. Last year anything was a bonus and she seems to be coming good now.”
Jack Mitchell got off the mark at the 15th time of asking since racing returned with Roger Varian’s Undertake (5-2 joint-favourite) in the Betway EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.
“It’s been a long week,” Mitchell said. “I’m really pleased. Her works been good at home and it was nice to get her finally on the track.
“She is quick, she was just a bit green early on, but once she got up and down she did it quite nicely.”
Shane Kelly teamed up with Jim Boyle’s Desert Land for a 22-1 surprise in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap.
Later in the evening, Marcus Tregoning saw Dartington (6-1) claim a maiden win under Martin Dwyer in the Betway Casino Handicap, before James Eustace’s 8-1 chance Coverham, ridden by Ryan Tate, pipped Simon Dow’s Prince Rock in the Betway Handicap.
It was then a case of London Buses for Charlie Bishop, who won on the Mick Channon-trained Oksana Astankova (7-2) in the Betway British Stallion Studs EBF Median Auction Maiden Stakes, before getting Eve Johnson Houghton’s Billhilly (11-2) home in the betyourway At Betway Handicap.
Kelly joined Bishop in bagging a double through Avorisk Et Perils (14-1), trained by Gary Moore, in the Betway Live Casino Handicap, just as the rain finally eased to conclude the evening’s racing.