NIGHT In Milan put up a superb display of jumping to run his rivals ragged in the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase.
Keith Reveley’s eight-year-old 14-1 shot set out to make the running but had Golden Call for company for much of the three and a quarter miles. However, from the third last, he was in front on his own and he never touched a twig in the home straight under James Reveley, seeing off Storm Survivor and Renard by five lengths and a short head.
Grand National fancy Monbeg Dude made an early mistake and was always chasing the field before making late headway.
The winning rider said: “He’s a great horse and a very good jumper. He loved that ground – he pinged off it. He’s still improving, despite getting on a bit. It’s a shame there’s no penalties for the National as he’d be some ride in that. This is my dad’s favourite track so it’s great to win one of their big prizes.”
The trainer said: “He’s in the National and we’ll have to see if he gets in. If he doesn’t he’ll go for the Topham. We’ll have him in both and he’ll go for the National if he does get in.
“He’s such a brilliant jumper. His owner Richard Collins is keen for him to jump the Aintree fences so we’ll see. Personally I’d like to see him Topham this year and National next, but we’ll see. He’s got to have his ground. He’s got to bounce off good ground. He’s a smashing horse.”
Monbeg Dude’s trainer Michael Scudamore said “We needed to get a run into him, although it wasn’t ideal. The dream is still alive. He hasn’t had a hard race. Paul (Carberry) couldn’t get him into it to give him a hard race. We wanted to get a good blow into him and it’s all systems going forward.”
Clever Cookie provided trainer Peter Niven with the biggest win of his career in the £1.25 million Scoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle.
Former jockey Niven, who enjoyed plenty of success in his days as stable rider to Mary Reveley, had been plying his trade at a lower level until this six-year-old came along.
Impressive winner of the Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh last time out, he took this step up in his stride under Wilson Renwick.
Sent off the 13-8 favourite, Clever Cookie was settled at the rear of the field as Fergall set a good tempo. He cruised into contention turning into the long straight and when Rewick moved him out to challenge, he sprinted clear to beat the long-time leader by eight lengths.
Niven said: “He’s only doing what we thought he would do. He’s a slow learner which is why I’m not keen on going to Cheltenham, but he’s getting the hang of it now.
“He’s the best I’ve trained and one of the best I’ve sat on.”