Miracle victory for Norton
Making Miracles ran the opposition into the ground as he gave course specialist Franny Norton victory in a mud- splattered renewal of the Sportpesa Chester Cup on the Roodee.
In desperate conditions, the Mark Johnston- trained fouryear- old turned the valuable marathon handicap i nto a procession.
Despite being drawn out wide in stall 16, Making Miracles was smartly out of the stalls and soon in control at the front end.
Low Sun was quick to join him from stall 17 and the pair were able to dominate the race.
The Willie Mullins- trained Low Sun l ost t ouch i n t he straight, but Making Miracles ( 16- 1) kept up the gallop to win unchallenged by six lengths.
Who Dares Wins just edged o ut Low S un’s s t a bl e mate Whiskey Sour by a neck for second spot.
Norton said: “I was drawn 16 and they said I couldn’t win from there, but I had a good, willing partner. I was able to go at the fractions I wanted to go and then it was nice and easy.”
The veteran rider added: “It’s beautiful as it was a race I wanted to win, so I’m happy.”
Meanwhile, Iain Jardine’s Alexander James created quite an impression when making a winning debut at Southwell and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on in the David Lever Memorial Novice Stakes at Thirsk.
If the last National Hunt season taught us anything, it was that Dan Skelton can certainly target a race.
He has had to rejig plans for Sofia’s Rock, who was heading to Aintree only to miss out when the rain came, but he now has an easier option in the Pertemps Network Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock.
A mark of 140 may seriously underestimate t his f ormer Mark Johnston inmate, who at his peak was rated 100 on the level.