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788 miles for a winner? No problem

Ayr Racecourse is 394 miles from Conkwell Grange, but any distance pales into insignificance when a winner is involved, and Neil Mulholland's Milkwood made the journey a great deal jollier on the return trip after winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle, a Grade II limited handicap, by 3 3/4l.

The action in April is indisputably in Scotland, with Ayr's annual Scottish National meeting, followed by the Perth Festival from tomorrow. And whilst Perth is just girding up toward a summer of Jumps action, Ayr will turn to the Flat.

Mulholland had targeted the seven year old at this race since he opened his season with success in a similar contest at Ffos Las. Milkwood has been running with admirable consistency. A 2 1/4l third to Belfast Banter in the County Hurdle has subsequently seen that form franked at Aintree where Belfast Banter won the Betway Top Novices. Races like the Swinton Hurdle may yet be on the cards for Milkwood.

Further south, Milton Harris was busy again at Wincanton, where robust 10 year old Magic River clearly enjoys his racing, winning a Veterans Chase and getting his head in front for the first time this season after several placed efforts. Milton's renaissance in this second attempt at a training career has certainly been bearing fruit.

John Dufosee was a leading light in West Country Point-to-Point circles, so it was a shame to see a small field with only one true Point-to-Point representative for the Hunter chase in his name on the Wincanton card. Nevertheless, it turned into an incident-packed race when Shantou Flyer unseated rider David Maxwell on the flat after the last, with the race won. The grateful recipient was Keltus, a first ever chase winner for Charlie O'Shea.

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