Kim Bailey's fine run of form continued as Harry Topper came from the clouds to land a strong renewal of the Grade Two GPG Novices' Chase at Newbury.
Having impressed on his fencing bow at Exeter, Harry Topper was a 3-1 shot faced with five talented opponents who had all won their most recent starts.
Irish raider Benefficient disputed the lead with Highland Lodge throughout and looked the likely winner when seeing off that rival between the final two fences. At that stage Harry Topper still had upwards of 10 lengths to make up on the leader, but he fairly rattled home on the run-in under Timmy Murphy to score by a length and a half.
Bailey, who is normally quite restrained in his post-race assessments, said: "He won't see a racecourse very often, as Timmy said I've got to look after him as he is desperately weak.
"He'll run one or two more times this season, because he is very, very good. I've always held a very high opinion of him and he's the best horse I've had since Master Oats. He wants flat, galloping tracks at the moment, and in 18 months' time I'd hope you will see him at Cheltenham. He is the horse of my dreams."
Sizing Santiago claimed an eventful Sportingbet Handicap Chase for Peter Bowen and Jamie Moore.
Sent off at 9-1 following a good run in defeat at Cheltenham's Open meeting a fortnight ago, Sizing Santiago was never too far off the pace in the extended two-mile-six-furlong contest and moved into the lead on the run to the third-last. The challengers were queuing up to have a crack at him all the way up the straight but Sizing Santiago held on grimly to score by a length from Our Bomber Harris.
The horse to take from the race was undoubtedly Rigadin De Beauchene, whose conditional jockey Robert Dunne performed miracles to stay in the saddle following a horrendous mistake four fences from home. Just when it looked as though his chance had gone, he rallied to grab third spot and was probably unlucky not to win.
Dunne said: "It helped that he kept straight, so I was able to hang on. Coming to the second-last, I still thought I was going to win but he is not a nimble horse and that put an end to it."
Bowen said of the winner: "I got him at the May sales, and I wanted him because he is a half-brother to Take The Stand. He's only a six-year-old and is actually better than Take The Stand was at his age. We'll see what the handicapper does now."
2 March 2015Aintree beckons for Milan
Dundalk unlikely for Byron
Cops on patrol for Pertemps
Sizing team to make late call
Stars on show at Cheltenham
Codd angling for Festival glory
Duke set Carlisle agenda
Prospects bleak at Wincanton
Moon camp wary of Irish threat
Hobbs unveils Cheltenham hopes
Magic McCoy on target with Fredo
Azorian back in winning groove
Berlais lands Auteuil prize
Fred Winter favoured for Berbas
High hopes for Meade Festival team
Cooper seeks Cheltenham riches
Lemaire in hot water in Japan
Reckless camp consider Arkle bid
1 March 2015Cecil runner second at Huntingdon
High hopes for Meade Festival team
Super set for National Duty
Longsdon retains Joe faith
Nolan hoping Noble makes cut
Camping in line for Cup bid
Bin Suroor tribute for Cavalryman
Vautour excites Mullins in workout
Elliott posse work at Leopardstown
Geraghty confirmed for Master
Wayward back on right track
Investment gains Greatwood gold
Bal win delights connections
Glinger burns off Kelso rivals
Pipe proves he's a Soll man
Geraghty shines on Leave It
28 February 2015Festival plans fluid for Cyclone
Walter back for another victory
Irish pair do battle in France
Geraghty: Sprinter will be fitter
Wylie lines up Cheltenham team
Twiston-Davies Blak in business
Divine Bishop on Festival trail
Irish duo set Doncaster poser
Night riding high for Grimthorpe
Glingerburn facing another battle
Pipe targets Aintree with veterans
Carlito primed for Kelso return
McCoy not planning Festival goodbye
Bridge camp praying for rain
Cook suspended from riding
27 February 2015Golantilla in Ballsbridge bid
Safety strikes in Zabeel Mile
Fehily confirms Zarkandar mount
Lieutenant bosses Purcell rivals
Dettori delights on Dubday
Many Clouds goes back to school
Maguire loses appeal
New One at ease for Faugheen clash
Foxrock still in Gold Cup picture
Apache ready to take flight in JLT