Jason Maguire lit up a muddy and miserable day at Haydock when galloping to a century of winners for the season with a treble for trainer Donald McCain.
Ballybriggan (5-1), She Ranks Me (85-40) and Desert Cry (3-1 favourite) struck at the combined odds of 74-1 to give Maguire good reason to celebrate at Christmas as he duels with Richard Johnson for second place in the jump jockeys' championship behind Tony McCoy.
The Maguire/McCain magic began with Ballybriggan, who overcame an absence of 595 days to win the Enough Said Just Bet At bluesq.com Handicap Hurdle. The eight-year-old overpowered the pacesetting Swiss Art just over a furlong out to score by two and a half lengths.
She Ranks Me brought up the 100th winner for Maguire when she ploughed through the mud to strike by five lengths from Little Glenshee in the Bet At bluesq.com Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
McCain said: "I wasn't convinced she'd go on the ground, but she has handled it well. She will have really enjoyed that because she has had some hard races so far. She has won two Listed races now so she has done her job and I suppose she will end up at Cheltenham.
"I'm surprised Jason doesn't get used more (by other trainers), but I suppose that's good for me."
Desert Cry capped a memorable day for the top combo as he swept to a 10-length verdict over Kudu Country in the Bet At bluesq.com Handicap Chase.
Colin Tizzard's decision not to wait for Thursday's Coral Welsh National paid dividends when Cannington Brook (9-2) repeated last year's victory in the Tommy Whittle Chase.
The Dorset trainer felt the three-mile handicap was winnable but it was a close call as Merry King fought all the way to the line in the extremely testing ground. There was just a nose in it as Cannington Brook edged out Jonjo O'Neill's runner in the hands of Tom O'Brien. The pair pulled 14 lengths clear.
O'Brien said: "He was going to go for the Welsh National but he loves the track here, and he probably doesn't really want three miles five, although I'm sure he would stay. He's not slow, though. I wasn't sure if I'd held on, he idled a bit with me in it last year and he's done the same again."
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18 December 2014Alvarado back for National service
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