NORTON trainer Brian Ellison was all smiles after Smart Talk produced a game display to win the Grade 2 Mares' Hurdle at Doncaster.

Despite facing the might of Willie Mullins, who saddled Morning Run, Ellison had faith in his giant mare, already winner of a Listed race at Haydock.

Smart Talk's jockey Paddy Brennan was keen to make sure Paul Townend did not get an easy lead on the odds-on Morning Run and the pair had it to themselves in the straight.

Smart Talk made a mistake at the third-last, which gave the diminutive Morning Run a brief advantage, with Pass The Time also closing in.

But to her credit, the 7-1 scorer found plenty for pressure and pulled three and a quarter lengths clear.

Lily Waugh, outpaced for much of the race, stayed on dourly for second, with Morning Run third and Pass The Time fourth.

Ellison said: "She's absolutely massive, we nearly sent her chasing after Haydock - we've schooled her at home and she's great.

"Despite being as big as she is, she's not slow by any means.

"She'd get further, I'm sure. When she was beaten over two-five at Ascot I thought it was the trip, but Sam Twiston-Davies said the ground was sticky.

"I said to Paddy not to give Mullins' horse an easy time of it in front and to harry her the whole way and it's worked."