Gillies jumps to it with double triumph

CAMPBELL Gillies, who broke his ribs after a nasty collision with a loose horse at Aintree three months ago, was a picture of health yesterday as he rode a 64-1 double as jumps racing finally returned to Musselburgh after a spate of winter call-offs.

The young rider, originally from Haddington, proved his fitness by riding 4-1 shot Copper's Gold to victory for his boss Lucinda Russell in the conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle, then scored again for his Milnathort stable on top weight Quito Du Tresor (12-1) in the Boogie In The Morning Handicap.

Renfrewshire trainer Jim Goldie ensured further Scottish success at the track when his Miss Abbey sprang a 20-1 shock in the National Hunt flat race.

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Earlier in the card, Donald McCain's Inventor justified cramped odds of 8-13 by taking the Totequadpot Novices Hurdle, while the unfairly-named The Snail (3-1 favourite) proved quick enough to land the Cosmic Case Handicap Hurdle for Evan Williams' yard.

Howard Johnson's winning streak shows no sign of letting up and his decent recruit from the Flat ranks, Ascendant, made a pleasing debut by running away with the novice hurdle at odds of 15-8.

Elsewhere, a few outings over fences were originally designed as a way for Henry Daly to get Mighty Man fit to challenge for a third Liverpool Hurdle, but his nimble round of jumping at Huntingdon yesterday suggested he may even have found his true calling.

Mighty Man needed to have stem cell therapy after a bad injury at Punchestown in 2007 and his plucky return to the racecourse has won him plenty of new fans. What the gelding lacks in size he compensates for in athleticism and, after opening his account at Hereford in December, this was an even more accomplished performance as he defeated the well-liked Sullumo by eight lengths in the Huntingdon Novices' Chase.

Daly said: "He has never been a typical horse to go novice chasing but he has always jumped very well and it is really nice to see him do it out there. He will probably have one more run over fences now and then go for the RSA Chase.

"The ground was against him and this wasn't the plan at all. We'd originally hoped to go to Warwick two weeks ago."

The 8-13 favourite here, Mighty Man is 16-1 with Sky Bet and 14s with Paddy Power for the Cheltenham staying prize.

Daly and Richard Johnson doubled up with Cobbler's Queen (5-1 joint-favourite), who helped owner Alex Timpson achieve a one-two by beating Key Cutter in the Turftv Handicap Hurdle.

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The main target for Alan King's Mille Chief has never been in doubt and the Triumph Hurdle favourite reassured his supporters with an exercise gallop in division two of the Huntingdon Racecourse For Outdoor Events Novices' Hurdle.