Ace High claimed the first classic of the point-to-point season – the Savills Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup – at Sunday’s Heythrop Hunt meeting at Cocklebarrow.
The revitalised veteran, an ex-Victor Dartnall and David Pipe inmate, sauntered clear of Champion Novice Hunter Chase runner-up Connies Cross to record a facile 15-length success in the stamina-sapping 3m 6½f contest.
The 12-year-old, partnered for the first time by rider Darren Edwards, had recorded just one victory from nine previous attempts between the flags. The son of Kayf Tara, who is out of the classy mare Celtic Native, is owned and trained by Exford-based Janet Ackner.
Dual Irish Hunter Chase winner Good Egg caused an upset in the AGA Ladies Open.
The 13-year-old was given an easy time early but jumped ahead four out. With market leaders Tugboat and Vasco Du Mee failing to land a blow, the gelding registered a comfortable win under Sarah Rippon.
Rippon, who was celebrating her third winner, rents a stable from Henrietta Knight to train the son of Exit To Nowhere.
Bridgnorth handler Philip Rowley continued his flying start to the season as Stoleaway scored smoothly in the Subaru Restricted Race.
The six-year-old Irish maiden winner always travelled well under Pete Bryan and Hunter Chases, including a possible tilt at the Subaru Final at Stratford in May, look well within the compass of this robust Stowaway gelding.
A tough performance saw the consistent Iberico (Sam Jukes) land the 17-runner King’s Head Inn Novice Riders contest.
Buck Magic completed an early season hat-trick after supplementing the Knight Frank Hunt Members race to his recent Barbury and Cottenham triumphs.
The ten-year-old, owned, trained and ridden by John Smith-Maxwell, jumped right throughout but still proved too good for his three rivals.
The biggest turn up came in division one of the Carter Jonas six-year-olds and over Open Maiden as Cab On Times (16/1) finally put it all together at the 12th attempt.
That produced a fourth success for 17-year-old rider Jordan Nailor.
The second division went the way of nine-year-old ex-hurdler Detank. The winner was far from convincing over several obstacles but made up for it on the flat with Phil York, closing in on a milestone of 300 point-to-point winners, guiding him home.
Joey Kangaroo skipped home in the closing BA Hull four, five and six-year-olds Open Maiden race (2m 4f).
The gelding had shown little for David Phelan last term but was unchallenged under Dave Mansell.