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."
23 February 2017Plenty to look forward to at the Festival for crack amateur Jamie Codd
Storm Doris claims Huntingdon card
McPherson anticipating bold Bartlett bid from Ami Desbois
Annacotty leads 13 contenders for BetBright Chase glory
Sara Bradstock pleased with Coneygree recovery progress
Imperial Cup option for Peace And Co
Soldier In Action on the Cheltenham Festival wagon after Doncaster romp
Nicky Henderson has Pendil preference for Different Gravey
Willie Mullins takes stock after 'huge performance' from Limini at Punchestown
Nicky Henderson wary of Un De Sceaux threat in Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham
David Simcock goes Meydan Trophy hunting with Sheikhzayedroad
All roads lead to Arkle Trophy for Altior and Nicky Henderson
Nicky Henderson says Noel Fehily still in Buveur D'Air frame for Champion Hurdle
Micky Hammond targets Naas prize with Just Cameron
Tom George issues Roc D'Apsis Kempton warning
22 February 2017Luckless Jonathan Burke suffers further injury blow
Limini leaves Apple's Jade toiling at Punchestown
Melon and Moon Racer in Supreme mix as latest Festival scratchings revealed
Doyle admits ground uncertainty for Justmemyselfandi
Nicky Richards still considering National Hunt Chase challenge for Baywing
Epsom announces Friday switch for Coronation Cup
Harry Fry still debating Cheltenham options for Neon Wolf
Soft ground key to Acapella Bourgeois Festival run
Evan Williams mulling Albert Bartlett option for De Dollar Man
Robert Havlin 'deeply upset and shocked' at six-month France Galop riding ban
Jerrysback looks smart in extending unbeaten record at Wetherby
Colin Tizzard hoping to have Thistlecrack back at Christmas after tendon shock
Ch'Tibello team hoping to make Champion date despite wind operation
Paul Nicholls keen on Politologue chance in JLT Novices' Chase
Saphir Du Rheu to target Gold Cup at Cheltenham
Thistlecrack out of Cheltenham Gold Cup - racing reacts
Zarkandar set to take Stayers' Hurdle challenge at Cheltenham
Top mares Apple's Jade and Limini clash in Quevega heat at Punchestown
21 February 2017Gold Cup shock as Cheltenham favourite Thistlecrack ruled out for the season
Evan Williams keen to tackle Adonis date with Evening Hush
Nine big guns to miss the Cheltenham Festival
Tendon injury rules Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack out for the season
Paul Moloney to see specialist again as he continues shoulder injury recovery
Lil Rockerfeller on course for National Spirit defence at Fontwell
Sceau Royal and Footpad both set for Champion date for Munir and Souede
Terry Doherty picks up top prize at Stud and Stable Staff Awards
Tendon problem rules out Champion Hurdle bid for Superb Story
Shotgun Paddy and Raz De Maree in line for Eider Chase honours
Bristol De Mai team to 'roll the dice' and head for Gold Cup
Ground crucial to Cheltenham bid for Colin's Sister
Brian Ellison happy to take Arkle challenge with Forest Bihan
Arpege D'Alene still in the frame for four-miler at Cheltenham
Mutakayyef leads 11 in Winter Derby contention
Course specialist Tea For Two heads 20 left in BetBright Chase at Kempton
Colin Kidd maps out Aintree aim for Rashaan
20 February 2017Carlisle double delight for in-form Nigel Hawke
Will Biddick confirmed for Ask The Weatherman in Foxhunter at Cheltenham
Jockey Club prize-money boost for smaller tracks
Perfect Candidate ruled out of Eider mission by Fergal O'Brien
Regal Encore in Midlands National frame
Place gets home to complete five-timer in Boyne Hurdle
All-the-way Acapella Bourgeois enters RSA Chase picture after Navan romp
Don Poli and Outlander heading for Gold Cup
Cheltenham off the agenda for Identity Thief following setback
Ball D'Arc bounds to Flyingbolt success at Navan
Colin Tizzard set for nervous Cheltenham build-up
Blow for Paul Nicholls with Cliffs Of Dover out for rest of the season
Harry Fry rules out National Hunt Chase for RSA-bound American
Nicky Henderson still undecided over Whisper's Cheltenham target