Mister Don puts Murtagh back in winner's enclosure
Lorcan Murtagh, who broke his leg in a fall at Hexham in late May, had his first winner since returning to race-riding when partnering Mister Don to win the 3m2f handicap chase for conditional riders, driving his mount to lead in the last strides and win by a short head.
Murtagh, 18, whose biggest success came on Rocking Blues in last season's Betfred Eider Chase, said: "I broke my tibia in a fall at Hexham on May 30. I had to have it operated on and I also needed treatment to the ligaments in my knee. I didn't come back until late October and have had just a handful of rides."
Mister Don is trained by Rose Dobbin and runs in the colours of Ronnie Jacobs, and his rider added: "He needs decent ground but we got away with it today. He's thriving at present but I'm not sure whether Rose will keep him going."
Snow Leopardess lands the odds
Dual bumper winner Snow Leopardess was sent off at 2-9 to get off the mark on her second attempt over hurdles in the mares' novice event and, though she travelled like the winner most of the way, her supporters had a scare when she slowed right up going into the third last and lost the lead.
It was a temporary lapse and she soon recovered before galloping on strongly to win by four and a half lengths under Graham Watters.
She is trained by Charlie Longsdon for Marietta Fox-Pitt, mother of top event rider William, and the winning jockey said: "I took it up turning in, but she jammed all on going to the third last, there were skid marks of about three metres. She was just green as she's a good mare."
Gold shines over fences after early mistake
Another winner to give his supporters a scare was Gold Present, who made a bad mistake at the fourth on his debut over fences in the novice handicap chase, but he jumped well after that and scored in good style under Andy Tinkler.
It was a return to form by the winner, who won two novice events a couple of seasons ago but failed to fire in handicap hurdles last season.
He is trained by Nicky Henderson for John and Barbara Cotton, and assistant trainer Toby Laws said: "I'm really delighted with that. After that early mistake he jumped well and this is the game he was made for. For some reason he was never quite himself last season."
Unison continues good run
The long journey from Somerset proved worthwhile for the Jeremy Scott-trained Unison, who made all the running under Matt Griffiths to win the 2m½f handicap hurdle to make it three wins from his last four starts over hurdles, as well as two Flat wins in the summer.
The winning trainer played down the achievement, saying: "They rather gave it to him at the start. The time before it was just a four-runner race, so he's been lucky."
Thought for the day
Former jump jockeys now riding on the Flat are the norm rather than the exception in bumpers this season and Graham Lee, Timmy Murphy and Dougie Costello all had mounts here. Murphy won on Irish Prophecy.