NO WONDER Max McNeill was dancing around, hugging people and pumping the air in sheer delight at Ascot on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

The Sonning-based businessman had just seen his classy horse, The Worlds End, win the Grade One Marsh Hurdle which carried a first prize of nearly £57,000.

He was probably thinking more about the second pot of £20,370 at the most he could expect, as Stayers’ Hurdle champion, Paisley Park, was 2-9 favourite to win.

Following two track inspections, the seven-year-old, a recent winner at Newbury, was taken out due to what trainer Emma Lavelle considered as unsuitable ground on part of the course.

With Tobefair also being withdrawn, only four runners went to post for this three mile contest over 12 hurdles.

It was a race only suitable for those who stay well and thrive in such conditions, and The Worlds End did just that.

Trained by Tom George near Stroud in Gloucestershire and ridden by Adrian Heskin, he cut out the running but was overhauled by Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge.

McNeill, who is chairman of Reading company Ultima Business Solutions, could not have been too confident at the final obstacle.

But he and his family were cheering as The Worlds End, the 15-8 favourite, got back up in the closing stages to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

Heskin said: “It’s fantastic to win a Grade One in these colours. I’m very lucky to be riding for the McNeill family.

“I’ve had a tough couple of years with injuries and things and they’ve stuck by me and it’s great that I’m able to repay them.

“They’ve a great bunch of horses and I hope they’re very successful.”

This was The Worlds Ends’ ninth win of his career, having earned nearly more than £220,000 in prize money.

Ascot’s two other races over the smaller hurdles saw 4-1 chance Flowing Cadenza, ridden by Sean Houlihan and trained by Bob Buckler, take the Foundation Developments Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, while 9-2 joint favourite Not So Sleepy, with Jonathan Burke in the saddle, was a nine-length winner of the Betfair Exchange Trophy.

Elsewhere on the card, Riders Onthe Storm (9-4) won the Betfair Exchange Graduation Chase for the Twiston-Davies yard, Espoir De Guge (11-4) took the Plymouth Gin Handicap Chase in the hands of Charlie Deutsch, and Regal Encore (16-1), ridden by Richie McLernon, won the Dave Dawes Silver Cup Handicap Chase.