Grand National champ Mania hits Musselburgh treble

Richie McLernon on Kealigolane (L) and Ryan Mania, riding Mr Moonshine. Picture: Jane Barlow
Richie McLernon on Kealigolane (L) and Ryan Mania, riding Mr Moonshine. Picture: Jane Barlow
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RYAN Mania, winner of the Grand National, took Musselburgh by storm yesterday when booting home a 111-1 treble on Mr Moonshine, Swing Hard and Any Given Moment.

The latter won the concluding three-mile hurdle for Sandy Thomson, while Mr Moonshine saw off Viva Colonia by two and a quarter lengths in the Scottish Premier Chase with Swing Hard taking the Happy New Year From totepool Handicap Chase by the same margin ahead of Presented.

A mud-splattered Mania said: “It’s a great way to start the New Year and I’ve had four trebles before today.”

Mr Moonshine and Swing Hard, carrying the Grand National-winning colours of Auroras Encore, completed a 29-1 double for Sue Smith and the trainer, who helped drive the horsebox up from West Yorkshire, said: “I haven’t been to Musselburgh for 20 years and Mr Moonshine fully deserved this win. He ran a terrific race in the Becher Chase and I was a little concerned about the trip and ground today. Auroras Encore has come out of Wetherby very well and is heading back for the National but Mr Moonshine may go for the Topham this year.”

Owners Douglas Pryde and Jim Beaumont were on hand as Swing Hard shouldered joint top-weight to victory on a day when Mrs Smith won with all four New Year’s Day runners for the first time in her career as Emral Silk and Grate Fella sealed a 92-1 double at Catterick.

Stuart Crawford was also in great early 2014 form as the Co Antrim trainer landed a 39-1 double with Call Box and Strongpoint.

The latter stormed to a four-length win under Peter Buchanan in the £40,000 totepool Mobile Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle while Call Box had earlier slammed Los Nadis by eight lengths for Craig Nichol in the totequadpot Four Places in Four Races Handicap Hurdle.

Crawford, who was catching the ferry back to Northern Ireland before heading back for Ayr and Musselburgh later this week, said: “This was a nice plan to come to fruition for Strongpoint and point-to-pointing has been the making of him. He needs a strong pace and pointing for my brother has just sweetened him up – he was also very unfortunate not to have won at Perth last summer.

“Call Box was given a nice ride by Craig and the race turned out exactly the way I described to him it would! He was in front a long way and the wee bit of give was okay for him.”

At Cheltenham meanwhile, Oscar Whisky strengthened his claims for what will probably be a tilt at the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Festival with a clear-cut defeat of Taquin Du Seuil in the Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices’ Chase.

Double Ross followed up his December Gold Cup success with a decisive win over Cedre Bleu in the Fairlawne Handicap Chase, while Willie Mullins’ Annie Power extended her unbeaten run to nine with an impressive victory in the Mares’ Hurdle. Ruby Walsh quickly gathered up the 2-5 favourite and she swiftly asserted before drawing nicely clear.