Mullins gives favourite backers a mare
Despite further inclement weather during the morning, Lingfield Park's seven race card got underway as planned but the opening Mares' Novices' Hurdle didn't go quite the way as punters planned as Hidden Identity failed to justify odds-on favouritism.
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In bottomless conditions, Andrew Thornton allowed Alder Mairi (25/1) to bowl along upfront and Seamus Mullins' five-year-old managed to find more to see off her rivals as they closed ominously with two flights to take.
Johnson headed the winner at that flight but his mount, who was attempting to concede a stone to her rivals, propped at the next and had no answers to the deserved winner on the run in.
The win was no surprise to Mullins who added: "We were quietly confident. She was very backward last year and hopefully we can build on this in the future."
Front-running also worked for Topaze Collonges (13/8f) as he made all to land the Jumping at Lingfield Handicap Chase.
The grey had won previously on a softer surface at Towcester and Noel Fehily nursed the grey to victory having come under strong pressure from the feather-weighted Sablazo.
"He loved the ground which makes a big difference. It was an average race but you can't do no more than win, giving more than two stone to the second horse," said winning trainer, Charlie Longsdon.
"He came to us from France last year and went straight into training which was probably a mistake.
"Having a summer off this year has helped a lot."
Philip Hobbs' string have been in rude health of late and the Minehead handler hit the target with De La Bech (7/2) in the third race on the card.
The son of Karinga Bay fully appreciated the gluepot conditions and slammed his rivals by 20 lengths.
Seedsman (8/1) defied a 302-day absence to score under Sam Twiston-Davies in the Lingfield Christmas Party Nights Handicap Hurdle.
Charles Egerton's charge had won first time out last season and those backers that took the hint were rewarded at juicy odds. The five-year-old managing to outstay the hat-trick seeking Dormouse in the shadows of the post.
The pair went on to post a double as his half-brother, Seedling (15/2), ran out the winner of the concluding bumper.
Pete The Feat (6/5f) secured his four timer in the staying handicap chase and landed a double for Charlie Longsdon in the process.
He probably just had the measure of Well Refreshed when Gary Moore's horse took a fall at the second last and Gavin Sheehan could allow his mount to ease home some 64 lengths clear of only other finisher, Pensnett Bay.
"I still had enough horse under me and felt confident enough. I was just getting ready to squeeze when that one came down," reported Sheehan, whose claim has been reduced to 5lb from 7lb with that win.
"My horse had a little bit more in hand. When he got to the front he really enjoyed himself and jumped from fence to fence."