Trainer Nick Richards at the double at Ayr
Last Updated: 02/01/18 4:55pm
News from Tuesday's card at Ayr, where trainer Nicky Richards saddled a double.
Stuart Crawford believes there are more big days in Elusive Theatre after the Irish challenger rediscovered the winning trail at Ayr.
The seven-year-old opened her account over hurdles at the Scottish venue in February and having performed well in defeat in a valuable mares' race at Cheltenham last month, she was a well-backed 11-4 favourite for the near #16,000 Racing UK Jump To It Handicap Hurdle.
Partnered by 3lb claimer J J Slevin, Elusive Theatre was always prominent and took over the lead from One For Harry before the third-last flight. The pair pulled clear of the remainder in the straight and it was Crawford's charge who claimed top honours by three lengths.
"That was great, as she ran a mighty race in Cheltenham. The ground just wasn't as soft as we were expecting that day, but she still ran well," said the County Antrim-based trainer.
"We were umming and ahhing about running as we wondered whether it would come too soon after the Cheltenham race a couple of weeks ago, but it was a good prize, she's won at Ayr before and she had a nice weight (10st 6lb).
"I don't think we'll be rushing her back. I doubt we'll run her again until the end of January at the earliest.
"It would be great if she could get some black type somewhere along the line and we'll probably look at going back over fences on better ground in the spring, as she does jump well."
Better Getalong predictably outclassed his rivals in the Jump To It And Join Racinguk Novices' Hurdle.
The Nicky Richards-trained gelding had already won a bumper and a novice hurdle at Ayr and was a prohibitively-priced 2-11 favourite to add to his tally after finishing third in a Supreme Trial at Cheltenham in November.
Despite conceding weight all round, Better Getalong comfortably stretched four and a half lengths clear of Off The Hook in the hands of conditional jockey Ryan Day.
Richards and Day went on to complete a double with 2-1 favourite Idee De Garde in the concluding bumper.
The well-bred Caventara (11-2) knuckled down to break his duck in the Racing UK Maiden Hurdle under Danny Cook.
Sandy Thomson's charge is a six-year-old son of Kayf Tara out of the 2005 Welsh Grand National heroine L'Aventure and saw out this two-and-a-half-mile contest strongly to prevail by a length and three-quarters.
Thomson said: "He's a lovely horse and really a chaser in the making.
"We'll look at the Sun Bets Northern Staying Novices' Hurdle Series Final at Newcastle (March 17). That's a novice handicap over two-six, so he'll need to run again in February beforehand.
"We'll step him up to three miles when he goes over fences."
Henry Brooke was another to enjoy a double on the card, scoring aboard Ian Duncan's Lochnell (11-2 joint-favourite) in the Biggest Ever Jumps Season On Racinguk Handicap Chase and the James Ewart-trained Sky Full Of Stars (11-2) in the Winter Weddings At Western House Hotel Handicap Chase.