The Charlie Mann trained Morney Wing gave Paddy Brennan a winning chance ride in the At The Races Sussex National Handicap Chase at Plumpton this afternoon.
Fourteen lined up for this real stamina testing contest and at flag fall it was Woodford County who led with Onderun and Top Wood, as they all cleared the first fence.
At the second, Onderun and Woodford County landed ahead of Azure Fly.
Woodford County and Ciaran Gethings asserted as the field headed to the top of the hill and continued to set the tempo from Azure Fly, with Sixty Something and Morney Wing, while Beforeall unseated his rider at the bottom of the hill.
At the 7th fence, Woodford County and Azure Fly landed in front of the grey Sixty Something, with Onderun to the inside and then Top Wood.
The order remained the same, with Woodford County having led for over a circuit, as the field turned downhill again, with Carloswayback bringing up the rear.
At the ditch at the bottom of the hill, Sixty Something jumped into a narrow lead, but turning into the home straight he started to lose ground and came under pressure, crashing out at the first fence in the straight.
Meanwhile, Azure Fly and Woodford County matched strides up front, chased by Top Wood and Morney Wing, as the field started to string out.
At the top of the hill for the final time, Woodford County started to come under pressure and Azure Fly went into a clear lead from Morney Wing and the staying on Dawson City and Sartorial Elegance.
However, just as he was looking a threat, Sartorial Elegance fell.
Morney Wing went on at the third last from Azure Fly and Dawson City, with Top Wood next the then the staying on Carloswayback.
However, the Charlie Mann trained Morney Wing dug in deep and led into the home straight with Dawson City and Azure Fly trying hard to close, but held at bay.
At the last Morney Wing was still in front and jumped well, plugging on under Paddy Brennan to repel Dawson City and Azure Fly with Onderun next.
Originally Noel Fehily had been booked for the winning ride, but had called off feeling unwell, gifting Paddy Brennan a big race winner.
Mann said: “He did it well and jumped well, so we’re delighted.
“Unfortunately Noel got stood down just before the race with flu, so we got Paddy and it all worked out.
“He was unlucky at Fontwell a couple of starts back and ran well at Sandown last time, so we were more than hopeful going into the race.
“We might look at something like the Midlands National or the Eider with him as he obviously stays well and loves soft ground.”
Lambourn-based Mann, who trained high-class chaser Celibate in the 1990s and most recently struck Grade One gold with Air Force One in 2008, has a reduced string these days but is pleased with how the season is going.
He said: ” We’ve only got 15 horses now and that’s our 18th winner of the season.
“The horses are in good order and things are going well.
“This is a good start to the year and long may it continue.”