Doncaster Saturday

DONCASTER’S Saturday card featured a trio of Grade 2 events, with the Lightning Novices’ Chase seeing Third Time Lucki (Dan/Harry Skelton) get his chasing career back on track with a stylish win, albeit helped by the last fence fall of For Pleasure, who was disputing, although under strong pressure at the time.

That left Do Your Job (Michael Scudamore/Richie McLernon) to inherit a distant second behind the 8/15 winner.

The Arkle has long been the plan for the winner, but Dan Skelton revealed that the gelding had suffered an overreach during the race, and his participation at Cheltenham depends on how quickly he recovers from that minor injury.

The trainer is happy enough to wait for Aintree, which may provide easier pickings in his quest for a Grade 1 win in any case.

Heritage surprises

The SkyBet Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle threw up a surprise with the 127-rated Miss Heritage winning for Lucy Wadham and Sean Quinlan at odds of 10/1.

She is a genuine handicap hurdler, but it’s hard to credit her with the improvement she seemed to show in beating favourite Miranda (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost) by 15 lengths.

John McConnell missed out in the mares’ race, but he maintained his impressive record in Britain when 11/2 chance Mahler Mission (James Bowen) landed the River Don Novices’ Hurdle, beating The Real Whacker (Ann Duffield/Harry Skelton). The distance was two lengths, and the pair came home 16 lengths ahead of the 130-rated My Bobby Dazzler in third. The winner was wearing a tongue-tie for the first time.

Quinlan double

Sean Quinlan notched a big-priced double when Brian Ellison’s 40/1 chance Windsor Avenue took the SkyBet Chase.

The race had a sad postscript with news that Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Midnight Shadow, trained by Sue Smith, had sustained a fatal injury.