Shantou Village a Galway Plate possible after impressive round of jumping
Shantou Village has the Galway Plate as a possible summer target after returning from 158 days off the track with a foot-perfect third novice chase win at long odds on. In the meantime he could run in a novice handicap chase at Sandown or Punchestown.
Neil Mulholland has always thought the world of the seven-year-old, who started favourite for last year's Albert Bartlett, and the manner in which he disposed of Red Hanrahan suggested he is ready for another step up in class.
Noel Fehily was thrilled with Shantou Village's jumping, and while Mulholland admitted it would have been a bad day if he had been beaten, it was the jumping he too picked up on.
Mulholland said: "I thought he jumped very well. We didn't go to Cheltenham because we didn't think he was right, but on Saturday he did his best work of the whole season. We think he'll improve for the run and that will hopefully be a confidence booster.
"He could go for a novice handicap at either Punchestown or Sandown, depending on the ground, and we'll consider the Galway Plate, but the main thing is he jumped well today and we are happy with him."
Alan King was the sixth trainer to hit the 100-winner mark this season when Dingo Dollar made all in a novice hurdle robbed of the forecast odds-on favourite Red Rising on account of the drying ground. It was his first time since he recorded 136 in 2008-09 season.
King, who switches disciplines with the fancied First Mohican at Lingfield on Good Friday, said: "We've had a great season, and it's especially satisfying to reach the 100 winner mark as it's been a while."
He added: "It was a bit of a blow to find that Messire Des Obeaux has gone wrong and is going to have to have a season off, but they've been in good form all season and Yanworth was our third Grade 1 winner at Aintree last week."
He added: "I quite fancied Dingo Dollar even before the favourite came out. I like him and he's improved all season in his work. He's a grand horse."
The familiar colours of David Bridgwater's great favourite The Giant Bolster were in the winners' enclosure when Lakeshore Lady got off the mark at the fifteenth attempt in the mares' handicap chase.
Bridgwater is another looking forward to Lingfield, where his smart Cohesion takes on First Mohican in the Marathon. He is delighted to have secured the services of Ryan Moore.
The Skelton team passed up a good opportunity when withdrawing Red Rising shortly before the meeting started, but there was success later when Gibson Park left all previous form well behind with a 10-1 win in the maiden hurdle on his debut for the team.
Jockey Harry Skelton said: "He really loved the ground and that's a nice winner for the Rio Gold Racing Club, which is a new venture. We have ten horses to run for them through the summer, and we've had two winners from three runners so far. And there are still plenty of places going."
Niall 'Slippers' Madden, winner of the 2006 Grand
National on Numbersixvalverde, has enjoyed his regular forays from Ireland to ride for his brother-in-law Harry Fry and rode his first Fontwell winner on Goodnitesweetheart in the mares' handicap hurdle.
Ten of the afternoon's 13 non-runners were on account of the ground, but there was nothing clerk of the course Ed Arkell could do about unexpectedly bright and windy conditions and riders were generally complimentary about conditions.
Thought for the day
Bright sunshine was just what most in the school holidays crowd wanted, but depleted fields are going to be an issue if we don't get some rain soon.