THE top races in England last weekend included the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle over two miles at Wincanton, and this went to the John Ferguson-trained five-year-old Purple Bay, who sprang a 16/1 surprise under 7lb claimer Mikey Ennis.

The Darley-bred gelding won a listed handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in July, he was then only seventh in the Grade A Galway Hurdle, and his overall record shows one bumper success and four hurdle wins from a total of 13 career outings.