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Trainer Karen McLintock has high hopes for Mason Hindmarsh over hurdles this winter after he continued his recovery from a life-threatening disease with victory at Catterick.
The Northumberland handler had been resigned to losing the five-year-old when she discovered a fungal infection in his guttural pouch, but he underwent successful surgery and bounced back to win on his first start for 11 months at Musselburgh in September.
Although he was beaten last time out, Graham Lee always looked to have things under control in the Weatherbys Foreign Exchange Handicap and never had to get very serious on the 3-1 favourite in defeating Ctappers by a length and a half.
McLintock said: "He'll go hurdling now and he's quite exciting. He won on his hurdling debut at Aintree then we took him down to Cheltenham for a big race, but he injured himself. We got him back and he finished second at Ayr on Scottish National day. Whatever he does is a bonus because we thought we'd lost him."
Lee had to work a little harder on odds-on favourite The Tiger (8-11), who won the Racing UK On Sky 432 Handicap under a 6lb penalty for a victory at Pontefract last week. Into Wain threw down a challenge in the final furlong but The Tiger was always in control, scoring by a length and three-quarters.
The Ed Dunlop-trained four-year-old is owned by Johnny Weatherby, whose firm sponsored three previous races on the card.
Weatherby's representative Nick Cheyne, former clerk of the course at Ascot, said: "He did that nicely. He could go for the November Handicap or there is a race at Newmarket that's an option, too. He's progressing and a galloping track will suit him better."
Paul Mulrennan was also in double form and holds the key to Mick Easterby's Nameitwhatyoulike, who resumed winning ways in the second division of the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Handicap. Mulrennan has ridden the three-year-old five times and has now won three on him.
The jockey said: "I used to look after his mother, Emma Peel, when I first started out as an apprentice at Brian Meehan's. I've never been out of the money on this lad every time I've ridden him. He'd dropped a bit in the handicap and that just helped him get competitive again."
Mulrennan also claimed the opening catterickbridge.co.uk Median Auction Maiden Stakes on Reggie Roberts' Irish raider General Direction. Sent off the 7-4 favourite having chased home an Aidan O'Brien-trained juvenile last time out, he found the competition slightly easier at Catterick.