Ellison winners flow.
Brian Ellison followed up a Pontefract double on Monday with another winner when Mister Mal scored at Newcastle yesterday to confirm the Yorkshire trainer's string is in great heart.
Mister Mal had been on a long losing spell since recording the last of his five successes at Brighton almost three years ago, and it looked as if a high draw would thwart him this time.
But Paul Hanagan managed to tack him from stall 14 over to the favoured far side without causing any trouble, and soon had him at the head of affairs in the Sharp Minds Betfair Handicap. He kept the eight-year-old right up to his work to the line to hold the late flourish from Carlton by a neck.
Ellison said: "He has won four times over seven furlongs, but I think six furlongs on soft ground is his trip, and he is a well-handicapped horse now.
"I fancied him today as long as he got away from the stalls -- that can be a problem with him. He has got a lot of pace and likes to bowl along. Paul gave him a good ride."
Hanagan was in top form and completed a double on Lyford Lass, the first winner Ian Semple has trained for Evelyn, Duchess of Sutherland.
Lyford Lass was headed by Oh Golly Gosh well inside the final furlong of the Saltwell Signs Median Auction Maiden Stakes, but Hanagan coaxed that little bit more out of the filly to get back up and score by a neck.
Semple said: "This is my first season training for Her Grace, and I think there is more to come from Lyford Lass. She is still on the weak side, but she does like soft ground. I also have a nice two-year-old for her, so hopefully we can go on from here."
Hanagan came close to a treble, but Double Ransom did not quite last out the trip and was beaten a neck by the Ben Swarbrick-ridden Pure Mischief - who had drifted from 7-2 to 6-1-- in the Saltwell Signs Handicap.
Winning trainer Mark Brisbourne said: "I thought we were going to get caught in the last 50 yards, but he just had enough in reserve.
"That is our 11th Flat winner of the year and Ben is a good lad. He has been with me since Christmas. It's a bonus that he can claim 7lb and do 7st 5lb."
Ground conditions were just to Raymond's Pride's liking, and he got off the mark for 2004 at the fourth attempt under Paul Fessey in the Weatherbys Insurance Handicap.
Raymond's Pride (14-1) raced in the far-side group and found a good turn of foot inside the final furlong to stretch one and three-quarter lengths clear of Highland Warrior.
Trainer Kevin Ryan said: "He loves this ground and I did fancy him. He is not a five-furlong specialist by any means, and on this ground he will stay out the trip well. He will win over six and he seems to run well here."
Fessey, however, was suspended for two days (May 3-4) for careless riding, the stewards having concluded that Raymond's Pride interfered with fourth-placed Viewforth, who had drifted from 7-4 to 4-1.
Tim Easterby opened his two-year-old account for the season when Elsie Hart (7-2) made a successful racecourse debut in the Benfield Alfa Romeo Maiden Stakes.
Elsie Hart, ridden by Willie Supple, headed the favourite Spirit Of France a furlong and a half out and really got the hang of things in the last 150 yards, drawing away to score by four lengths.
Easterby, who trains Elsie Hart for long-time stable supporter Charlie Stevens, was represented by his father Peter, who said: "She loved the ground and she has done it well in the end. Our two-year-olds have not been disappointing, they have just been unlucky, and it is nice to get the first one in."
Philip Robinson travelled up from Newmarket for one ride and he made the trip pay with the minimum of fuss on Michael Jarvis's odds-on chance Keelung in the James Fletcher Marquees And Pavilion Hire Maiden Stakes.
Keelung, a well-backed 1-4 chance, may not have had a lot to beat, but he would have won by a great deal further than 16 lengths if he had not been eased right down in the closing stages. He looks the type who will go on and win something better.