What was due to be no more than a confidence boosting exercise ended up being a lucrative victory as versatile performer Waltz Darling struck gold in the feature William Hill - In The App Store Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh.
A winner on the Flat at Catterick before overcoming one or two sticky leaps to make a successful debut over fences at the Edinburgh circuit a month ago, Waltz Darling was a 14-1 shot yesterday switched back to the smaller obstacles by trainer Keith Reveley.
With the Saltburn handler’s son James riding a typically patient race in the £10,000 contest, Waltz Darling began to make his move early in the straight and gradually wore down Ballyvoque after the final flight to strike by a neck.
Reveley is looking forward to seeing his charge back over fences over the Festive period.
The winning trainer said: “He’s a grand horse and he’s now won on the Flat, over fences and over hurdles in the space of three months. There won’t be many horses do that, I don’t think.
“Today was just meant to be a confidence booster for him more than anything. He jumped the first six fences absolutely brilliantly here last time - he jumped like a (Michael) Dickinson horse - but then he went to pieces when he hit the front.
“I just thought a run over hurdles might help and he’s ended up winning a nice prize as well, so it’s great.
“He’s versatile and a smashing looking horse and the plan now is to go for a good novice handicap chase at Catterick on December 28. It’s a nice prize and I like to support these good northern races when they put them on.
“He actually won his first two races as a two-year-old for Richard Fahey and then just lost his way for whatever reason, but the jumping looks to have perked him up.
“He is only a six-year-old, so it’s not out of the question there could be a bit more improvement in him.”
Fledgling trainer Rebecca Menzies also enjoyed success as relatively new recruit Revolutionary Road was a 28-1 winner of the William Hill - Download The App Handicap Chase.
The six-year-old had stints with three different trainers in Ireland before a fairly inauspicious British debut over hurdles at Sedgefield, but he fenced fluently in the hands of Tony Kelly and held the late rally of Final Assault by a neck.
“I think switching to fences has been the right thing to do. He’s jumped class today,” Menzies told Racing UK.
“We ran in Sedgefield the last day and the ground was probably a tad soft. Ground is crucial and he’s loved it today.
“We got him at the Doncaster Sales in September and he looks like a nice buy.”
Long odds-on favourite Arabic History was a workmanlike and perhaps even fortunate winner of the William Hill - Bet On The Move Maiden Hurdle for John Ferguson and Tony McCoy. The dual bumper winner was a 1-5 shot to make a winning start over obstacles, but had a real fight on his hands until Apterix tipped up at the final flight. Just as though it appeared that fall had gifted the market-leader victory, he began to pull up in front and was all out at the finish as he held on by a length and a quarter from Gilnockie.
There was a pulsating finish to the William Hill - On Your Mobile Handicap Hurdle, with the Donald Whillans-trained Snapping Turtle (3-1) winning a protracted duel with Vision De La Vie by a head.
Michael Smith and Brian Hughes teamed up to land the William Hill - The Home Of Betting Handicap Chase with Benefit In Kind. The 11-4 favourite came home 20 lengths clear, although his task was made significantly easier when eventual third Blue Kascade made a terrible blunder two fences from the finish, with Steven Fox performing miracles to keep the partnership intact.
Smith said: “He’s no star, but he’s a lovely honest horse and it’s great to see him get his head in front.
“Hurdling just wasn’t his game, but as a result we’ve ended up over fences with a mark that allowed us to run in low-grade novice handicap chases and we were getting quite excited on his first run over fences at Hexham before he came down.
“We gave him a confidence boosting run back over hurdles at Carlisle next time, but he was run off his feet, and he’s just a much better horse over fences.
“We’ll stick to chasing now and just stick to small handicaps. My daughter rides him out every day and absolutely loves him, so it’s a great result.”
Hughes came close to completing a double in the bumper, but 7-4 favourite Double W’s was defeated by a nose to Rose Dobbin’s 3-1 shot Professor Plum, the mount of Wilson Renwick.