Roger Varian is taking the positives out of Charyn’s easy victory at Doncaster on Saturday ahead of Eldar Eldarov’s run in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan.

Winner of the St Leger at Doncaster in 2022, he added another Group One when successful in the Irish version last season.

That was his last outing of the year, with connections electing to bypass Champions Day at Ascot, but he has been in training for a while ahead of his trip to Dubai.

The race is over two miles, however, a distance over which Eldar Eldarov has yet to win at.

“Everything has gone to plan and hopefully the victory of Charyn is a plus,” said Varian.

“They are different types of horse but they have been doing a lot of work on a similar programme because they both had early-season targets.

“So Charyn winning hopefully tells me that Eldar is probably ready, so we are looking forward to it.

“I just wish it was a mile and six (furlongs) because he seems to love the mile and six trip – but two miles around there should be OK.”

Mr Professor was too clever for the rest with a power-packed display in the William Hill Lincoln at Doncaster.

Sent off at 33-1, the Dominic Ffrench Davis-trained five-year-old was drawn in stall two but ended up more towards the middle after David Egan – celebrating a big winner so soon after becoming number one rider for owners Amo Racing – asked his mount to quicken a furlong and a half from home.

Lattam was a length and a half back in second, with Navagio two lengths further away in third, but there was never any danger to the winner once he had flown.

Fozzy Stack’s Chazzesmee was the well-backed 5-2 favourite, chasing an unprecedented double after winning the Irish equivalent last weekend, but while he moved with some menace, he could never quite get into it, eventually just being edged out for fourth by Alpha Crucis.

But there was huge disappointment for David Menuisier, with last year’s winner Migration planting himself in the stalls as the gates opened.

Cieren Fallon produced Montassib to perfection in winning the William Hill Cammidge Trophy Stakes at Doncaster.

Content to sit at the back of the field until just over a furlong out, Fallon weaved his way through on the William Haggas-trained 4-1 chance to beat 3-1 joint-favourite Marshman by a neck, with the other market leader Orazio another length and a quarter back.

It did look like Marshman had done enough after hitting the front, but his supporters were sunk by Fallon’s late surge, on a horse who ended last season with victory in the valuable Coral Sprint Trophy at York and is now a Listed winner.

It was Fallon’s first winner since returning from a lengthy injury.

He said: “Last year, he was a frustrating horse for me because I felt I should have won the Ayr Gold Cup on him, but we at least ended the season with a win at York.

“I rode him work the other week and I said to the boss he’d improved again, he’d got quicker. He was such an easy ride today, anyone could have won on him.

“I’m very lucky that I was looked after well at Oaksey House, they’ve spent a lot of hours with me, I took my time as I was off for four and a half months, I didn’t want to come back too soon, I wanted to make sure I was 100 per cent.

“I’ve been back riding out the last three weeks and the boss has put me on some quiet horses to give me some confidence that way. I had a spin yesterday and I feel great, I feel better than ever and I don’t feel like I’ve lost any race-sharpness at all.

“I’m in a really great position, I’m very lucky to be riding horses like this.”

Assistant trainer Maureen Haggas said: “I thought Cieren gave him a lovely ride – it was a bit testing about a furlong out, but he got there.

“He was a talented two-year-old, then early the following year he had a problem with his heart, so he had the whole year off.

“He’s really done nothing but improve since then, he got his act together at the end of last year and he’s carrying on now. I think he needs a bit of cut to be seen at his best.

“We thought he was quite big today, as he had a good blow in his work, but he doesn’t look like he’s had much of a race today.

“He’s a lovely horse, one of those lovely people, so straightforward.”

The mercurial Look Back Smiling provided Gemma Tutty with the biggest success of her training career when winning the William Hill Epic Boost Spring Mile at Doncaster.

Bought out of Ed Dunlop’s stable by Nick Bradley for what now looks a snip at £10,000, the four-year-old was defying a career-high mark of 83.

A winner in heavy ground at Town Moor last October, he had conditions to suit once more and was delivered perfectly by 5lb claimer Brandon Wilkie.

The only worry was that under pressure he drifted into Jamie Spencer on the 5-1 favourite Thunder Roar, bidding to give Tony Coyle and Kaine Wood a first winner since the start of their new joint venture. The stewards left the original result alone, though.

Tutty said of the 17-2 winner: “As you could see in the final furlong, he’s not the most straightforward and he doesn’t make life easy for his jockeys.

“That’s another fantastic run at this track though, so we’re going to have to look at coming back here.

“He doesn’t do a stroke at home. In his work, we put the least experienced jockeys on him and just play catch me if you can, then he just keeps going and going.”

She went on: “He won three races last year, but I suppose in racing like he does, it’s protected him from the handicapper. It’s just a shame he needs the ground this soft because some of those big handicaps in the summer would be perfect for him.

“We’ve had a really good start to the year, we’ve targeted the All-Weather Championships, so we’ve had more runners than we’d normally have and they’ve been running well, but you can’t have a better start to the turf season than this.

“It’s my biggest win, I suppose, we’ve got about 20 horses in and the staff have worked so hard all winter, the staff have been up and down that motorway all winter, so I can’t thank them enough.

“Nick Bradley has a few horses with me now, so it’s nice to repay the faith he has shown in me.”

Dylan Cunha put a feather in the cap of his training career in Britain as Zminiature landed the William Hill EBF Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster.

Traditionally the curtain-raiser for the Flat season, this time the juvenile contest – won 12 months ago by Persian Force, who went on to prove very smart – was the second race on the Town Moor card.

A Group One-winning handler in his native South Africa, Cunha is now based in Newmarket, and in this 16-1 winner he looks to have a nice colt on his hands.

Given a patient ride by Rhys Clutterbuck, the Territories youngster moved smoothly through runners to pick up long-timer leader Paddy’s Courage inside the final furlong, before keeping on nicely to hold Bob The Bandit and Indication Ember by a length and a short head.

Cunha said: “It was expected. We really fancied him. He’s small but he’s tough and does everything right. It’s nice to get a good early two-year-old winner.

“I said to the owners halfway through the race ‘it’s been a great experience, he’s learning to race’, as it looked like he was going to be fourth or fifth.

“We took him to Chelmsford for a gallop last Monday, we did all the work that needed to be done.

“I’ve got to thank the Sarkar family, they were the first owners in the UK to support me, so to pay them back with a Brocklesby winner is massive.

“His name is Zminiature because he’s tiny, he’s only up to my chest!

“We started with three horses 18 months ago but we’re up to 50 now, 25 of those are two-year-olds. It’s been hard work, 18-hour days, but I’ve got to thank the team at home, I just conduct it all.

“There’s a conditions race at Chester and a Listed race at Sandown, then after that we’ll take stock.

“I’m pleased for Rhys, I don’t think he gets the opportunities he deserves but he’s quite softly spoken and in this game you’ve got to make a bit of noise and talk yourself into jobs, but it meant I was able to get him. He’s a great jockey, I love him.”

Chazzesmee is out to complete an historic double in the William Hill Lincoln at Doncaster on Saturday.

Just five days after plundering the €100,000 Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh, the six-year-old is sent back into battle by trainer Fozzy Stack for the British Flat season’s traditional curtain-raiser.

Sweet Lightning is the only horse to have won both races, scoring at Doncaster in 2011 when trained by Michael Dods before striking gold the Irish equivalent in 2013 for Tommy Carmody.

Not only is Chazzesmee looking to become the first to win the two prestigious handicaps in the same season, but he also bids to become the first Irish-trained winner of the Lincoln on Town Moor since Dermot Weld’s Saving Mercy 40 years ago.

“It’s kind of a shot to nothing, he’ll either be there or thereabouts or they’ll be sending out a search party for him,” said Stack.

“It’s hard to know with the short turnaround, but it’s a good pot, so it’s worth a chance.

“He’s always been a horse that has had plenty of talent, he’s just been a bit unfortunate through his life.

“He handles soft ground, obviously, so we’ll see what happens.”

One of the chief hopes for the home team is Karl Burke’s Liberty Lane, a narrow winner over the course and distance in September before failing to fire in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket a fortnight later.

Burke is looking forward to stepping the four-year-old up in trip later in the year, but is happy to start off over the straight mile on testing conditions.

“A mile is the minimum trip for him, he should be staying a mile and a quarter, but you need that (stamina) for that type of race,” said the Spigot Lodge handler.

“If he can keep tabs on the leaders, he loves that soft ground and fingers crossed he can run a big race, but we’re going there hopeful rather than confident.

“I think I’d rather be drawn high (stall 20) than low and I think they’ll probably arrowhead up the middle. Most of the fancied horses are drawn low, so it will be interesting.”

Charlie Johnston fields two contenders, with Qipco Champions Day winner The Gatekeeper joined by stablemate Dutch Decoy.

The Gatekeeper has not been seen in competitive action since his lucrative Balmoral Handicap victory at Ascot in October, while Dutch Decoy makes his first appearance since finishing a close-up sixth in the Cambridgeshire.

Johnston said: “The Gatekeeper is in very, very good shape, I couldn’t be happier with him in that regard. He’s proven with some cut in the ground and goes well fresh, so he’s got lots in his favour.

“Life’s going to be a bit tougher for him as he’s rated 100 now. The handicapper rightly didn’t miss him for his Balmoral win, but that’s the only negative I think. Other than that he’s got all conditions in his favour. He’s a solid contender and this has been the target for a long time.

“If there’s any ambition for this season, one is that Dutch Decoy gets his day in the sunshine because he’s often been the bridesmaid and he’s been a real stalwart with us in the top handicaps, but generally running well in defeat.

“He was just behind The Gatekeeper in the Golden Mile at Goodwood last summer on soft ground, so he has got some soft ground form, but generally I don’t think he would want the extremes and I think he’s a little bit better on slightly better ground.

“That would be a slight concern with him, but he’s fit and well and there’s not a lot else for him for a while, so we thought we’d take our chance.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s Awaal, the Julie Camacho-trained Lattam and Jack Channon’s 2022 Lincoln hero Johan also feature in a fiercely-competitive field.

Channon said: “He’s just a very good horse and 100 per cent a great servant. He’s not got any black type but he’s a black-type horse. Those big-field mile races just seem to really suit his running style.

“He’s won two big ones already and hopefully he can add another to that.”

George Boughey’s Baradar bids to start his season on the right note when he lines up at his favourite track for the William Hill Cammidge Trophy Stakes.

The six-year-old was twice a winner last term, taking a Doncaster handicap over a slightly longer trip at the peak of his form in the autumn.

His Town Moor form in general is impressive, and he was a good third on heavy ground in the Lincoln at this meeting last year.

Now dropping back in trip to six furlongs, Boughey is hopeful he will relish a return to his favoured course at Listed level.

“Baradar was good back at six and a half furlongs at Doncaster in the autumn, before probably just finding it one too many runs at Ascot at the end of last year,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing him at six (furlongs) for the first time. He loves it at Doncaster, he’s done lots of work and is very straight. He’s in a super shape, he’s an absolute legend.

“In four runs at Doncaster he’s won twice, been 1-3 in the Lincoln in-running and placed in the Futurity Trophy.

“It’s his first run in stakes company for a long time and he goes there with a good chance.”

Nick Bradley Racing have three chances in the race, chief among them being the Karl Burke-trained Marshman.

Second in the Gimcrack as a two-year-old, the bay started his season well when winning the Prix Sigy on debut last year and was then fifth in the Duke of York when beaten three lengths.

He was subsequently a close third in the Prix du Gros-Chene, before finishing unplaced in both the King’s Stand and the Coral Charge.

The latter three runs were over five furlongs, and the talented colt will now step back up to six as he wears a tongue tie for the first time.

Burke said: “He’s a nice horse, I’m not sure he wants the ground as testing as it’s going to be but he’s in good form.

“It’s his first run of the year obviously and he’ll come on for it, but hopefully he’ll run very well.”

Bradley added: “He came back from Sandown with a pelvic injury last year but he’d started the season off well when winning the Prix Sigy.

“If we were selecting what ground we’d want we’d choose good ground, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he were a little bit fresh.

“As a two-year-old he wasn’t a tearaway but he wasn’t far off, we’re excited to get him back on the track.

“We’ve got three in the race and we hope to come home in the first three.”

Bradley’s other two chances are both trained by Grant Tuer, the four-year-old fillies Sophia’s Starlight and Glorious Angel.

William Haggas will saddle Montassib, a six-year-old who was fifth in the Ayr Gold Cup last term before winning the Coral Sprint Trophy at York.

“He was a bit unfortunate at Ayr, he had been running over seven furlongs for a while and I dropped him back in trip for the Ayr Gold Cup and they went fast and he came home well,” said the trainer.

“He finished well at York when he won as well.

“I think this is his trip and I think he likes the cut in the ground and he will be as fit as we can have him.

“Most of the Exceed And Excels we have had have wanted fast ground, but we think he definitely doesn’t. Maybe it’s because he has got hold and prefers a bit of dig in the ground, but he definitely wants cut.

“He always runs a good race, but he has never run off 108 before. Handicaps are now a bit out for him and it’s races like this and the Abernant Stakes and see where we are.”

Charlie Hills’ Orazio and Rod Millman’s Adaay In Devon complete the field of seven.

Does He Know put up a tremendous weight-carrying performance to provide trainer Kim Bailey with a third victory in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster.

Although a four-time winner over fences, including Grade Two and Grade Three triumphs at Ascot and Cheltenham respectively, Does He Know was a 20-1 shot for his latest assignment having failed to trouble the judge in three previous starts this season.

The nine-year-old also had the burden of 12st on his back and had to concede upwards of 11lb to each of his nine rivals, but bounced back to his best under a buccaneering ride from David Bass.

The three-mile-two-furlong contest was not for the faint hearted, with eight of the 10 runners failing to complete the course.

Some Scope, the 3-1 favourite to complete his hat-trick following recent wins at Catterick and at this track, looked to have been delivered with a perfectly-timed challenge halfway up the home straight by Gavin Sheehan, but try as he might he was unable to reel in Does He Know, who stuck to his guns to claim top honours by just over three lengths.

Bailey, who has previously won the Grimthorpe with Shraden Leader in 1994 and The Last Samuri in 2016, said: “We very much hoped he would do that. He was the best horse in the race, the rain definitely helped us and we were very hopeful he would run a smashing race.

“He’s got some very good form. He’s a very hard horse to place and we’ve run him in two races this season we knew he had no chance in but there weren’t any alternatives.

“It has always been the plan to run in this race and it was unbelievably good performance with 12st on his back in that ground, it was extraordinary.

“I’m really pleased for the owners and everybody involved because we’ve had a shocking old winter really. The horses haven’t been wrong, but we’ve got very few horses that go in this ground.”

Does He Know holds an entry in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter in a fortnight’s time, but will not take up that engagement.

“He won’t go there, definitely not. He doesn’t have to run again this season, but if he does it will either be the Whitbread (bet365 Gold Cup) or the Scottish National, I would think,” Bailey added.

“He’s had a hard race today, so he’ll want a bit of time to get over that.”

Pinot Rouge (20-1) provided Northumberland-based trainer Susan Corbett with the most notable success of her training career so far in the Tips For Every Race At Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, narrowly outpointing Irish raider Ottizzini by half a length under Edward Austin.

Corbett said: “I hoped we’d be in the first half of the field because although she’s not got a lot of speed, she grinds away and loves the soft ground.

“On her first run for us she was flying home when she was third and while she’s doesn’t show that at home, the boys that ride her say when you ask her she gives a little bit more.

“If we’d been third today I would have been delighted, so to finish first I’m somewhere on the ceiling I think! We’ve never won a Listed race before or anything near it, so the whole team at home are thrilled to bits.

“She’ll probably have a little break and if the ground is still like it is now in say four weeks she’ll run again, if not we’ll put away because I think novice chasing will be her game next season.”

Homme Public was a 3-1 winner of the Free Digital Racecard At Handicap Chase for the formidable training partnership of Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero, while Curley Finger (2-1 favourite) denied stablemate Floueur by a diminishing nose when leading home a one-two for trainer Rebecca Menzies in the Download The Raceday Ready App Handicap Hurdle.

Anthony Honeyball has a trio of chances ready to line up in the valuable Coral Trophy at Kempton on Saturday.

Forward Plan heads the group, an eight-year-old last seen finishing just a nose behind Annual Invictus in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster.

Prior to that, he was a winner on Town Moor when taking the bet365 Handicap Chase over the same three-mile distance, his third victory in eight runs over fences, having only been out of the placings once.

He has now reached a career-high mark of 133, though Ben Godfrey’s 3lb claim eases his handicap allocation and he will run off a competitive 10st 9lb.

“Forward Plan goes quite well on any ground really,” said Honeyball.

“The best of our racing has been on goodish ground with him and our next race for him will be Aintree, so we feel like he’s ready for a race and we’ve got to have a go because it’s such a brilliant prize – it’s worth £25,000 more than the Ultima at the Festival.

“If we had our dream scenario, we would like slightly quicker ground, but he has a light weight, he’s one of the favourites after his run at Doncaster and we kind of feel duty bound to give the owners a chance to win it.

“He loves a bit of decent ground, but there’s no reason why, off a light weight, he can’t run well.”

Stablemate Blackjack Magic began his season in good form when taking the Badger Beer Chase at Wincanton and subsequently came home fourth in the Howden Silver Cup at Ascot.

Much of his best form is on testing ground and he is expected to appreciate the soft going at Kempton.

“Blackjack Magic has proven he is up to this class and he won the Badger Beer,” said Honeyball.

“He will love the soft ground and, in fact, the heavier the better for him, that will suit him a bit better than a couple of the races he has run in this season.”

Honeyball’s third runner is the veteran chaser Sam Brown, who carries a top weight of 12st under Jonathan Burke.

The 12-year-old has some valuable races on his CV and showed he was not losing his enthusiasm when landing the Veterans’ Chase Series Final at Warwick last month.

His age and the significant weight he carries may leave him an outside chance, but his trainer is not ruling out a good performance from the gelding.

Honeyball said: “He’s a big outsider at the minute, but that’s only because he’s 12 years old and rated 152 and there’s probably some stats that tell you that is a near impossible task.

“Is he going to win and go up to 156 or 157? It’s probably unlikely, but he is overpriced.

“There’s plenty in his favour, he will enjoy the ground and he doesn’t mind a competitive handicap. He can sit halfway and he has that turn of foot where if he can stay in the hunt approaching the business end, then he can quite come through with a decent surge.

“I don’t think it would be the biggest shock ever, but we have got to run him and hopefully there is another day in the sun for him – we’ve got to give him the chance.”

Ben Pauling has a live chance in Bowtogreatness, an eight-year-old jointly-owned by Harry Redknapp.

The trainer enjoyed a three-timer at Ascot last weekend, along with jockey Ben Jones, but Bowtogreatness was not among his runners after a tracheal wash which caused connections to skip the meeting.

He will instead line up at Kempton for his third start of the season, after which he has one of his three Cheltenham Festival entries on the horizon.

“He’s in really good form with himself. He was supposed to go to Ascot last weekend, but just had a slightly average tracheal wash 10 days previous, so we decided to wait,” Pauling said.

“He was as clean as a whistle this week and worked well on Saturday, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how he runs.

“On his first run of the season, I left the ear plugs out and he just head-butted his fences round Newbury and didn’t jump well enough, then he went to Cheltenham and it was almost like his first run of the season really. He travelled into it very well and just blew up going to two out.

“I dare say he’ll be spot-on for Saturday and he’s a hardy horse that needs a lot of graft, so it’s very much the plan to get a proper run into him before going to the Festival.

“He’s in the Ultima, he’s in the Kim Muir and he’s in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and how he goes on Saturday will tell us which race he’ll run in.”

At the head of the market is Dan Skelton’s Flegmatik, a winner over course and distance last time out, with Nicky Henderson’s Tweed Skirt and Chris Gordon’s Lord Baddesley also well fancied in a field of 12.

Friday’s card at Bangor has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

Early on Thursday afternoon, it became apparent the course could be in difficulty when an inspection was called for 4pm due to areas of the track being under water.

With rain, sleet and snow all falling, the decision was an easy one as the two furlongs after the winning line were under water, with further rain forecast.

Thursday afternoon’s meeting at Doncaster was called off due to heavy snow.

Having initially passed an early morning inspection, snow began to fall about an hour before the first race.

As the opening contest approached at 12.55pm, it was snowing heavily and by the time the jockeys had entered the paddock to mount, an inspection was called.

A deputation of course officials, jockeys and stewards went out on the track but even in the short time that took, visibility was getting worse and the meeting was soon abandoned.

Clerk of the course Paul Barker told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s very disappointing.

“When I walked it this morning, it was nice and we’d had nothing overnight. I walked it again at 10.30am with the stewards panel chair and it had just started to sleet and no snow, but nothing was settling.

“Jockeys were arriving and so were the trainers – and all were happy.

“Then about 45 minutes before the first, the snow started falling heavier and never really stopped.

“Concerns were raised by everybody during the inquiry and I spoke to the weather station, who said we had about 45 minutes more snow and then it wasn’t going to thaw.

“You just can’t beat Mother Nature.”

Doncaster was not the only fixture called off on raceday, with officials at Thurles cancelling their card due to heavy rain.

Friday’s National Hunt fixture at Kempton is also subject to a precautionary inspection at 7.30am due to the threat of rain.

This afternoon’s meeting at Doncaster has been called off due to heavy snow.

Having initially passed an early morning inspection, snow began to fall about an hour before the first race.

As the opening contest approached at 12.55pm, it was snowing heavily and by the time the jockeys had entered the paddock to mount, an inspection was called.

A deputation of course officials, jockeys and stewards went out on the track but even in the short time that took, visibility was getting worse and the meeting was soon abandoned.

Clerk of the course Paul Barker told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s very disappointing.

“I walked it this morning it was nice and we’d had nothing overnight. I walked it again at 10.30am with the stewards panel chair and it had just started to sleet and no snow but nothing was settling.

“Jockeys were arriving and so were the trainers and all were happy.

“Then about 45 minutes before the first, the snow started falling heavier and never really stopped.

“Concerns were raised by everybody during the inquiry and I spoke to the weather station who said we had about 45 minutes more snow and then it wasn’t going to thaw.

“You just can’t beat Mother Nature.”

Doncaster was not the only fixture called off on raceday, with officials at Thurles cancelling their card due to heavy rain.

Friday’s fixture at Kempton is also subject to a precautionary inspection at 7.30am due to the threat of rain, while Bangor’s card will have to pass an initial 4pm inspection with the course currently waterlogged.

You Wear It Well remains on course for a crack at more Cheltenham Festival glory in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle after running with credit in defeat at Doncaster last weekend.

Jamie Snowden’s charge produced her best effort as a novice at Prestbury Park when making all to see off 20 rivals in Grade Two company last March, scoring at generous odds of 16-1 under Gavin Sheehan.

She kicked off this term by getting the better of Luccia at Wetherby over two miles before being a well-beaten favourite in the rearranged Fighting Fifth at Sandown.

Snowden opted to step her up to an extended three miles in the Warfield Mares’ Hurdle, with a change of tactics deployed, as she was held up at the back early on.

You Wear It Well came through to challenge Marie’s Rock at the final flight but just found the 2022 Mares’ Hurdle winner too strong on the run-in.

“I think we just got beat by a better horse on the day in that set of circumstances,” said Snowden.

“It was our first try at the trip and the ground was a little bit quicker than ideal. It turned into a little bit of a sprint from three out and we had a bit of ground to make up.

“But Marie’s Rock is rated 150, we’re rated 140, we were carrying the same weight and we only got beat a length and a half, so it was a decent performance and I was glad to get that run into her, it was a nice run.

“The Mares’ Hurdle is the plan and we might look at the Warwick race (February 10) on route.”

Nicky Richards’ Famous Bridge will head next to the Virgin Bet Grand National Trial at Haydock after a luckless run in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster.

The eight-year-old was well fancied for the Town Moor contest and sent off as the 13-2 joint-favourite under rider Sean Quinlan, with Paul Nicholls’ Kandoo Kid sharing the same starting price.

Famous Bridge’s popularity in the market can be attributed to his fine start to the season, with the gelding finishing a close fourth at Ayr and then winning two competitive Haydock chases, including the Tommy Whittle.

However, the field of 18 did not get away cleanly at Doncaster and there was a false start initially, meaning the horse lost his position and was left at the rear of the pack when they did begin to race.

He never really progressed from that spot and, as the race got away from him behind the successful front-running ride given to Annual Invictus, Quinlan made the call to pull up Famous Bridge and save him for another day.

Richards reports the horse to be none the worse for the run and hopes to have a little more luck in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in just over two weeks’ time.

“He’s fine, he’s had a little steady canter this morning and he seems well,” said Richards.

“The race was won and lost at the start, they were all coming in grand and if he’d been able to get away first time, he’d have been in the perfect position.

“It ruined it for him, the winner bobbed out and made every yard but as soon as you’re out of it in a race like that, it’s over.

“Sean made a very sensible decision, he felt there was no point going on with him. If he’d have gone the whole trip, he probably would have finished in the same place.

“Hopefully, we’ll get him freshened up and we’ll go for the Grand National Trial at Haydock.

“He seems fine, he only went a mile and a half and Sean did the sensible thing.

“Hopefully, we’ll get him nice and fresh and well and he’ll be grand.”

The Blue Blood Racing Club are relishing the prospect of Ashroe Diamond taking on some of the best mares around at the Cheltenham Festival, following her decisive Grade Two triumph at Doncaster last weekend.

Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by the handler’s son Patrick, last season’s Grade One scorer took a huge step forward from a third-placed return in the Hatton’s Grace to book her ticket to the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle in good style in the Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle.

The seven-year-old easily got the better of Nicky Henderson’s well-regarded Under Control, with high-class stablemate Gala Marceau a place further back in third in South Yorkshire.

Having been cruelly denied a run at the Festival at the 11th hour 12 months ago, connections are now hoping for a smooth run-up to Prestbury Park’s showcase meeting to enable a shot at a race that has always been high on the list of assignments for this term.

“It was a brilliant day and I suppose coming back in trip for her after the Hatton’s Grace was the key to her jumping well and Patrick was able to go forward a lot more,” said James Fenton who manages the Blue Blood Racing Club.

“Myself and Patrick discussed it about an hour before the race and he rode her textbook to the way we decided on – not a thing went wrong, which is great. You would have to be impressed with her and the way she did it so professionally.

“We have to go to the Mares’ now. She was unlucky not to get to Cheltenham last year and hopefully now, with the travelling over to Doncaster and back and stuff, she is a more settled mare in that regard and all roads now lead to Cheltenham.

“We said at the start of the season, when we decided not to go chasing with her, that she deserved another crack over hurdles and we would aim for the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and work our way back.

“The run in the Hatton’s Grace brought her on to Doncaster and now we go on to Cheltenham and hopefully the plan is working – and that is all down to the great team at Closutton.”

While Ashroe Diamond was enhancing her reputation on Town Moor, Lossiemouth was laying down her own Mares’ Hurdle marker at Cheltenham with a blistering display in the Unibet hurdle.

The two Closutton inmates dominate the top of the Mares’ Hurdle market and, although highly respectful of Rich and Susannah Ricci’s Triumph Hurdle-winning starlet, Fenton is embracing the challenge competing in a Grade One event at the Festival will bring.

He added: “Lossiemouth is a great mare who we are willing to take on and we will enjoy our day out.

“To have a mare good enough to take on the likes of Lossiemouth is brilliant and may the best mare win, that’s what the game is about.

“There is no point going over and just expecting to win everything at this level; you are going to have to take on the best and Lossiemouth is one of the best mares in training at the moment, so we will look forward to taking a cut at her, we won’t be running for cover.

“The build-up to it will be exciting now and all the members of the racing club are chuffed to bits to have a mare of that quality to go to a big race like that.

“To go to Cheltenham with a mare with a bit of a squeak and to get her into the first three would be amazing.”

Fergal O’Brien’s Dysart Enos was hardly pressed when maintaining her flawless record in the Download The At The Races App Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster.

The mare is considered a real prospect and had done nothing wrong in five starts when heading to Town Moor with three bumper wins and two hurdle victories on her CV.

The Cheltenham Festival is on the horizon for the six-year-old and the Doncaster contest proved to be the perfect preparation as she triumphed at a canter under Paddy Brennan, crossing the line seven lengths ahead as the 1-9 favourite.

“We’re very happy with her, obviously it’s very nerve-wracking when you’re 1-9 on and she had to go and win,” said O’Brien.

“She had to win or it was going to be a disaster, there’d have been a big bubble burst! But she did the job well and we were very happy.

“She did it as well as we hoped she’d do it, she’s in good form with herself and she enjoyed the whole job – that was nice to see.

“I think you’ll see her to better effect in a better race, she was just jumping a little bit up in the air today.

“Her jumping at Cheltenham (in December) was probably better, if you were going to crab her, but in a better race she’ll jump better.”

Paddy Power left the winner unchanged at 7-2 for the Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in March, and O’Brien added: “She got the job done, Paddy was happy with her, fingers crossed it’s Cheltenham now.”

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