Josies revels in Ascot quagmire
Rain in Ascot led to stamina-sapping conditions, but Josies Orders showed an aptitude in the mud to win the Foundation Developments Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
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Jonjo O'Neill's gelding has taken a while to get it altogether, but had broken his duck at Aintree in October before running a good third at Wetherby a fortnight ago.
Always going nicely under Tony McCoy, who kept the 6-1 chance wide throughout, Josies Orders stayed on best to finish two and a half lengths ahead of Sybarite.
"He works well at home, but we stuck the blinkers on as he hasn't always been doing it on the track," said O'Neill.
"AP (McCoy) said it's heavy out there and it's great he has shown the ability he has at home."
Even-money favourite Easter Day gave Paul Nicholls his fourth David Johnson Memorial Shawbrook Graduation Chase in a row.
The two-mile-five-furlong heat is for horses that have not won more than a couple of chases but it boiled down to a match between two novices, Daryl Jacob's mount Easter Day and the McCoy-ridden O'Faolains Boy.
They duelled down the straight and were split by two and a quarter lengths at the line.
"I've normally won it with second-season chasers rather than novices," said Nicholls.
"It's nice to win David's race. He was a great owner and a great man who is missed by everyone.
"I'm not sure this horse would be quick enough for Cheltenham, but we'll find some staying handicaps.
"I thought he ran a little flat today."
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Confidence had not been high in the Evan Williams camp ahead of the BGC Partners Handicap Chase, but 14-1 chance Lancetto proved him wrong.
The Sneezer went off at a fair lick in front before Grey Gold took over, while Lancetto and Gus Macrae waited in the wings.
The latter delivered a serious challenge over the last but was repelled by half a length.
Jockey Adam Wedge said: "I'm very surprised he won as Evan thought he was too high in the handicap, but his jumps over the last two fences have been crucial."