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Fonzerelli lands Listed prize for trainer Rebecca Menzies

Rebecca Menzies’ Fonzerelli landed Listed honours at Doncaster after taking the Virgin Bet Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle under Nathan Moscrop.

The bay was a winner last time out at Newcastle over two and a half miles with a six-length victory under the same jockey in another mares’ novice hurdle.

At Town Moor, the six-year-old seemed to relish the step up to three miles when jumping well and staying on to defeat Dan Skelton’s Get A Tonic by half a length at 18-1.

“She’s absolutely gorgeous, I can’t fault her at all, she’s been brilliant from the day I got her,” Menzies said of the 18-1 shot.

“Obviously it was dropping her in the deep end today against these, but we knew she was good and we knew that two and a half (miles) last time would be her minimum and she won very well.

“We thought we’d take our chance to get some black type if we could and it’s worked, she’s won impressively.

“She’s got bags of stamina, she’s a clean-winded mare, she’s very sound and easy to train – she’s just a delight.

“We said to the owners that anything she achieved over hurdles this year would be a bonus as she’s a very good jumper over a fence, so she’ll be one to look forward to in the novice chases next year.”

Bun Doran was on the mark at Doncaster
Bun Doran was on the mark at Doncaster (Steven Paston/PA)

Veteran chaser Bun Doran struck at 11-2 in the Virgin Bet Handicap Chase for Ciaran Gethings and Tom George.

The 11-year-old was severely hampered when Malystic fell at the eighth, but he rallied under Gethings to regain his place and threw in a spring-heeled leap at the last to prevail by a neck from King D’Argent.

“He’s a yard favourite and I think a racing favourite too,” Gethings said.

“I really thought he’d run a big race today and I’m delighted to ride a winner for those owners too (The Crossed Fingers Partnership).

“It was do or die at the last, I think David’s (King D’Argent) missed a bit and he just came up.”

Universal Folly claimed a last-gasp success in the Virgin Bet Handicap Hurdle for trainer Nicky Richards and jockey Conor Rabbitt.

Universal Folly won the opener at Doncaster
Universal Folly won the opener at Doncaster (Molly Hunter/PA)

A 13-2 chance for the extended two-mile contest, the gelding ran to the fore of the nine-strong field throughout and was leading when jumping slowly over the last and allowing Neil Mulholland’s Mongol Emperor to throw down a challenge.

The two bays locked horns on the run in to the line but it was eventually Universal Folly that prevailed as he stuck his neck out to take victory by a neck.

“Today everything seemed to go in his favour, he liked that track and galloped well and stayed well,” said Rabbitt.

“To be honest, coming into the last I didn’t really have a doubt, he stays well and he battled to the line so I was delighted with him today.”

Gillian Boanas scored a one-two in the Virgin Bet Free Bets For Winners Handicap Hurdle as Sultans Pride and Teescomponents Lad came home first and second respectively.

The winner was a 100-30 chance under Theo Gillard and took to the front ahead of the final fence, keeping on resolutely as his stablemate loomed to triumph by two and a half lengths.

Dan Skelton’s Duke of Bronte won for the first time over obstacles in the Virgin Bet Novices’ Hurdle after starting at 5-1.

The eight-year-old was rated 104 on the Flat at his peak when trained by Rod Millman and made his first start over hurdles at Fontwell last month after a 1,332-day absence from the track.

After coming home fifth on his hurdles debut, the gelding was an easy winner at Doncaster when jumping well and cruising to an 11-length victory under Bridget Andrews, who said: “He’s as nice as horse as I’ve sat on lately.”

Skelton said: “I knew nothing about the horse when he arrived, the team that owned and bred him explained a lot to me but left us with a ‘suck it and see’ attitude.

“We went to Fontwell and he was entitled to need the run after such a long time off, but he’s been very authoritative and on historic form he’s very good.

“He’ll stay any trip and the team that owned and bred him have got an ambition to run in the Sefton and after that he can’t be far from those dreams.”

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