Shaking not stirred by Towcester slop
Shaking Hands put up an admirable front-running display in the Haygain Hay Steamers Clean Healthy Forage Handicap Chase under extremely difficult conditions at Towcester.
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Tom Scudamore, rerouted to the Northamptonshire track after Exeter was rained off, took over from 7lb claimer Tom Bellamy and made the extended three miles a real test.
The 11/2 shot did not have things his own way as he was pressed throughout by Chac Du Cadran.
These two dominated proceedings, but it was David Pipe's charge who prevailed by a length and a quarter.
"That was a good performance. He deserved that, he just loves these conditions. He's a proper dour stayer," said Scudamore.
"The tougher the better for him. He's run some great races around Exeter, Lingfield, Carlisle and here."
Two Rockers overcame a couple of blunders to maintain his unbeaten record in the Haygain Hay Steamers Clean Healthy Forage Novices' Hurdle.
The 10/11 favourite, trained by Alan King, met the third-last and the final flight all wrong but had enough in hand for Robert Thornton to stave off the game Jat Punjabi by six lengths.
"Going to the last he was just being a little bit green, but he's fine, I'm not cribbing him at all," Thornton told At The Races.
"He travelled very well. I was able to get him where I wanted him and he'll be better in a better race because he'll get towed along for longer.
"He's won his two hurdle races now and will probably be stepped up in class.
"Whatever he does over hurdles is a bonus.
"He's a chaser for the future and he'll get three miles."
Goodtoknow (6/1) collared It's Oscar at the final flight to take the Best Racing Blogs On gg.com Maiden Hurdle by three lengths for trainer Richard Lee and 3lb claimer Jake Greenall.
"He's a very nice young horse, but he's taken long enough to grow up. He was a bit of a Jack the lad when he first came to us, but he's learning and he's only four yet," said Lee.
Trainer Robin Mathew had his colours carried to victory when Bravo Riquet (16/1) gave him his first success for 2950 days in the Haygain Hay Steamers Clean Healthy Forage Handicap Hurdle.
Lee Edwards sent the six-year-old to challenge the pace-setting favourite Ukrainian Star after the third-last and his mount drew clear to score by 19 lengths from Hazy Bay.
"I don't take any notice of those statistics otherwise we wouldn't last," said Mathew.
"He's a nice horse. I bought him at Cheltenham, but we've just taken our time.
"He hung badly last time he ran, but we've solved that with the vets and we're OK now.
"He won a point-to-point in Ireland in these sort of conditions. We've had problems getting him to settle, but Lee has settled him nicely."
Topaze Collonges (7/2) followed up an all-the-way win at Lingfield with a similar triumph in the Winvic Construction Handicap Chase.
Noel Fehily just had to keep Charlie Longsdon's five-year-old up to his work to hold Mujamead by two and three-quarter lengths.
The Venetia Williams-trained Gorgehous Lliege (5/2 favourite) got the better of Gers Benefit on the run-in for a six-length verdict in the Free Tips Every Day At gg.com Novices' Handicap Chase under Aidan Coleman, another jockey rerouted when Exeter was abandoned.
Tonvadosa (9/4 favourite) was a convincing winner of the concluding bumper for trainer Donald McCain and jockey Jason Maguire.