David Pipe's dour stayer Master Overseer got back on the winning trail with another fine front-running performance in an attritional Carolyn Brown Celebration Veterans' Handicap Chase at Wincanton.
In his last five starts the 10-year-old has landed the Midlands National at Uttoxeter and a valuable staying handicap at Cheltenham, but been pulled up on the other three occasions.
Despite taking a significant drop in class having failed to get his own way out in front in the Welsh National last time, it was no surprise to see Master Overseer allowed to go off at 10-1 given his inconsistent profile, but it was clear from an early stage he was in the mood for a battle.
Fencing fluently in the hands of Conor O'Farrell under a welter-burden of 11st 11lb, Pipe's charge had seen off all bar the in-form Desperate Dex rounding the home turn and the pair settled down to fight it out. Despite being in receipt of the best part of two-stone, the 13-year-old Desperate Dex was never able to get on terms with Master Overseer, who kept galloping to take the valuable prize of just over £12,000 by one and a half lengths
Mon Mome, another teenager who has not won a race since running out a 100-1 winner of the 2009 Grand National, ran his best race in a while to grab third spot.
Pipe said of the winner: "He's rated 142, he's a very good horse. He's very slow, but honest, and when he gets in a rhythm he's a hard horse to pass. We were hoping he was going to bounce back after a poor run in the Welsh National. As ever they went very quick in that race, he got headed and maybe thought he'd done enough.
"I'm sure he'll have an entry in the Midlands National. It's just great to get him back on the winning trail."
The Carling Johny Whitcombe Fan Club Novices' Chase turned out to be a hugely eventful race, with Brendan Powell's 14-1 shot Milans Well running out a fortuitous winner.
Tenor Nivernais unseated his jockey three out, leaving Valoroso and hot favourite Ambion Wood to seemingly fight out the finish, but the complexion of the race changed dramatically in the straight. Valoroso had mastered Ambion Wood from the second last, but crumpled on landing when well clear jumping the final fence under Daryl Jacob. Ambion Wood clambered over the last with the lead, but was clearly a very tired horse, and the once tailed off Milans Well came through to claim an unlikely victory.
Jacob's luck changed in the following Grolsch Handicap Chase as the Nick Williams-trained Politeo (11-2) ran out a comfortable eight-length winner and there was a thrilling finish to the Elite Racing Club Novices' Limited Handicap Chase, with Jacob and favourite Bury Parade losing out by a nose to 4-1 shot Saved By John under Richard Johnson.
27 February 2015Divine Bishop on Festival trail
Irish duo set Doncaster poser
Night riding high for Grimthorpe
Golantilla in Ballsbridge bid
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
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
26 February 2015Higgins back in business
Cookie poised for April return
Silvi threat unsettles Riches camp
No going concerns at Cheltenham
Fry resigned to Fehily Ruby loss
Trip key to Balder success - King
McLernon gets nod for Holywell
Salsify leads Foxhunter field
Mullins unveils Bumper entry
Curtis hoping for Cross revival
Aurore misses Mares' date
25 February 2015Ton-up for in-form Pipe
Big display from George veteran
Credit to join the Premier league
Jack to duck Grimthorpe date
Tea preparing for National tilt
Geraghty rates Whisper World claims
George retains Module faith
Uramazin ready to go again
Coney team wait on Festival call
Aintree on Ceremony agenda
Silvi is all Gold - Nicholls
Bright Clouds gets serious
Puffin swoops at Leicester
Nicholls: Rheu call tough for Sam
Nicholls suffers Hinterland blow
Own on Cheltenham trail
BHA issues new anti-doping rules
Walsh hoping for a Champagne moment
That ruled out of World bid
24 February 2015Carr revved up for National service
Draycott Festival plans shelved
Knott to appeal three-year ban
Conti at fever pitch for Gold Cup
Fiddes seeking Movie gift
Generous praise for Ransom
No regrets for Doyle
O'Regan rates Stark claims
Fortt wins stable staff gong
Festival aim for Keevil's Legend
Nothing slow about Best's Foot
Duke toppled at Ayr
Serge bids for Festival flyer
Filleule has 'realistic chance'
Henderson: Sprinter 'spot on'
Time beats Henderson with That
Jacob rates Reve chance
Twiston-Davies eager for Rocky ride
Beltor likely for Triumph bid