Nicky Henderson further strengthened his hand in the novice hurdling department as Utopie Des Bordes made a successful British debut at Doncaster.
Winner of a Grade One chase in France, she made her introduction in the 32Red Casino Mares´ Novices´ Hurdle over an extended two miles.
Barry Geraghty was keen to keep her covered from the fierce headwind in the home straight and there were still four in with a chance jumping the final flight. In the end, the 4-11 favourite beat Call Me A Star, who was conceding 6lb to the winner, by two lengths, with 66-1 chance September Blaze another two lengths adrift at the line.
"She's not very quick but there have been so many mares' races rained off we had to get her out and it just so happened this race was over two miles," said Henderson.
"She'd been running in staying races in France where she had 18 runs in 14 months so we gave her a break. There's a mares' Listed hurdle over two and a half miles at Sandown on Friday week that she'll go for next. As she's still a novice, we don't have to send her for the David Nicholson (OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival) this year."
Henderson and Geraghty soon doubled up with the promising Minella Forfitness in what could prove to be an informative £32 Bonus At 32Red.com Maiden Hurdle.
The 2011 November Handicap scorer Zuider Zee and dual Cesarewitch hero Aaim To Prosper were with the eventual winner all the way up the home straight but it was the former point-to-pointer who stayed on strongly.
A good leap at the last settled matters for the 11-4 joint-favourite, who ran out a two-length winner from Zuider Zee, who shaped well first time over hurdles.
"He was pretty keen and at halfway I thought I'd made a mistake stepping him up in trip," said Henderson.
"Barry said he wasn't as keen as he looked, though, and looking at the race you'd say the first three were much the best. He wants this trip, but Aintree could be more his place than Cheltenham."
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'Magnificent Seven' heaven sent for proud Frankie Dettori
Henry Candy sets sights on Chantilly with Limato
Alice Springs and Persuasive in line for rematch in Sun Chariot at Newmarket
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Only Mine signed off for the season by Joe Murphy
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Salisbury Wednesday fixture loses one-mile race
Hamilton Monday card gets go-ahead
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Aidan O'Brien lines up three-pronged attack on Arc
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Happy days for Aidan O'Brien in Renaissance Stakes
Classic-winning trainer Tommy Stack to retire at the end of the year
Eziyra puts Classic claims with Curragh success
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25 September 2016Rain threat to Hamilton card on Monday
Dermot Weld has Tuesday workout plans for Arc hope Harzand
Ed Dunlop plays the long game with Red Verdon
Richard Fahey retains faith in vanquished Frankel filly Queen Kindly
One-mile race at Salisbury in jeopardy on Wednesday
Owen Burrows calls time on Massaat season
Henry de Bromhead has chasing in mind for Identity Thief
Ed Vaughan heads to Ascot with Mehronissa
Arc favourite Postponed pleases in Saturday workout
Spark Plug fires up for Cambridgeshire glory at Newmarket
The Last Lion sparks Group One celebrations for birthday boy Joe Fanning
Cheveley Park first for Aidan O'Brien as Brave Anna tops Lady Aurelia
Hugo Palmer has Derby dream for Best Of Days
Paul Hanagan speculation news to me - Angus Gold
Capri leads Aidan O'Brien's four-strong challenge on Beresford heat
Perle De La Mer seeks to sparkle in Park Stakes date
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24 September 2016Waterlogging claims Roscommon card
Hugo Palmer retains faith in Escobar despite Newmarket eclipse
No retirement plans for Gordon Lord Byron ahead of Renaissance run
Jack Kennedy sidelined after Downpatrick fall
Fair Eva grounded by French flyer Spain Burg
Cougar Mountain peaks at Newmarket for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore
Newmarket winner Journey takes familiar route towards Ascot
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Bronze Angel bids for third Cambridgeshire gold in vintage renewal
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Blue Point and Mehmas face Middle Park rematch
Wesley Ward expecting Lady Aurelia to show her best in Cheveley Park test
Colm Murphy announces shock retirement news