Valentino Dancer took advantage of his course and distance form to land the Ferry Ales Brewery Prelude Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen for Paddy Brennan and Fergal O’Brien
The six-year-old was beaten only half a length in the Summer Handicap Hurdle at the Lincolnshire track in July and has since enjoyed success on the Flat when winning under O’Brien’s daughter Fern in an amateurs’ handicap at Newbury.
Back over obstacles for his first run of the new campaign, the chestnut made his challenge over the final flight and benefited from the jumping error made by 5-2 favourite Hang In There.
Despite the latter rallying towards the line, O’Brien’s gelding held on and was an eventual two-and-a-half-length winner at 7-2.
“I was happy enough, but it was tactical,” Brennan said.
“You always like to take defeat on the chin but on that occasion (the Summer Hurdle) I felt I let that slip, I was there too soon in a tactical race and that was the difference between winning and losing.
“I was there as soon today, but it was a different type of race – it was more of a sprint and when it’s a sprint you can never be there too soon.”
Haseefah made her hurdles debut a winning one when taking the Mosquito Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle by an emphatic nine and a half lengths under Tom Cannon.
Previously campaigned on the Flat in France by Francois Rohaut before joining Alan King, the four-year-old had run three times on the level for her new trainer, picking up two second places in handicap contests.
A switch to hurdles clearly suited the filly, who prevailed comfortably having started at 4-1.
“I got a good lead into the race and we went a good, even gallop,” said Cannon.
“I was following the right horses, I wasn’t sure if she was going to pick up but she did.
“She’s been schooling for a good few months so she had her eye in well, I haven’t sat on her too much but she’s always been a good jumper and her Flat form was good.”
Addosh was another runner to turn Flat form into a hurdles victory when taking the Just Jane Juvenile Hurdle for Ciaran Gethings and Stuart Edmunds.
The filly comfortably worked her way to the head of the field after travelling towards the rear for much of the race.
Crossing the line five and half lengths ahead of the runner-up, the 5-1 chance reversed the form with third-placed Caramelised, who was the 5-6 favourite after beating her by 19 lengths last time.
“We had the hood on today and you could visibly see that she picked up,” Edmunds said.
“She galloped and went along, I ran her once on the Flat and I was a little bit concerned that we weren’t going to get the trip over hurdles but it took halfway down the back to pull her up today.
“She was getting an awful lot of weight from those boys today but I think she did it well, she jumped well, she settled adequately so we’ll see where we go next.”
Railway Muice (7-1) was a facile winner of the Harvest Gold Handicap Chase for Nick Scholfield and Sarah Humphreys, after leading from the home-straight turn to the line.
The performance was the gelding’s first run on British turf and also his first run for Humphreys after leaving the County Longford yard of Paul Flynn in September.
Buster Thomas benefited from a wind operation to take the Golden Fleece Handicap Chase for Tom Bellamy and Emma Lavelle.
The 7-2 favourite ran prominently throughout and crossed the line two and a quarter lengths to the good over Gortroe Joe.
G’Day Aussie (17-2) was then the winner of the Great Character Handicap Hurdle for Lee Edwards and trainer Dave Roberts, before Edmunds claimed a double when Hillfinch took the Green Imp National Hunt Flat Race at 4-1 under James Turner.