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."
31 October 2014Lady proves a champ
Dettori works Breeders' Cup magic
Day to remember for Ellison
Johnson remains under observation
Conti chasing second Charlie Hall
Terror scares Newmarket rivals
Filleule faces Champion test
Terror scares off Newmarket rivals
Sgt far from Reckless at Uttoxeter
Little King wears Down Royal crown
Nicholls goes on Charm offensive
Fishers angling for Wetherby prize
Lavelle star Bec in business
Weld out to break new ground
Osborne ready to 'roll the dice'
Dank bids to sign off on a high
Turf glory in sight for Telescope
Red Ed upbeat about Cadeaux
Aktabantay out of Breeders' Cup
Tearless secures Good Friday ticket
Overnight stay for Johnson
Crawford banks on Izzini progress
Toast could make Spencer think
Road charts route to Royal riches
Grece excels at Saint-Cloud
Hawk given Greatwood option
Hannon: Early speed key for Osaila
30 October 2014Tearless takes Lingfield honours
Johnson taken to hospital
Royal summons for Apache
Bowe takes aim at WKD bullseye
Hootenanny 'smoking' for BC mission
Avenue roads lead to Newmarket
Shu to be kept busy
Scu sweet on Sensation Ascot raid
Murtagh succumbs to Cup charms
Dandino to stay in Australia
Glance denied Mackinnon defence
Bailey ace rules Supreme at Taunton
O'Brien hit by Magician blow
Diablo in big-race picture
Buckley raises Toast to Osborne
Pastille seeking four-timer
Conti all set for Charlie Hall
Barnes out to storm Saint-Cloud
Williams issues Buywise warning
Lynam reveals Slade stalls fears
29 October 2014Lame Magician out of Breeders' Cup
Diablo in big-race picture
Mullins enters strong Hennessy team
Damaged hock behind Estid reverse
Eckhart team rocked by injury blow
Hunt Ball makes Power play
Morgiana a T bone of contention
Kirby ponders Buttons French raid
Glance camp turn to Williams
Wohler trusts 'professional' Moore
Red alert to Cup challenge
Head targets more Mile glory
Mile hope Toronado in 'great form'
Telescope camp banking on Moore
Twiston-Davies link excites Moore
Flying third to Bob on hurdling bow
Harden to test top staying waters
Godolphin take share in Belardo
Mullins has big guns at Down Royal
Annacotty set for Kempton return
Powell and Bradley cleared
28 October 2014Fingal camp on weather watch
More injury woe for Popham
Dickin unveils Thomas gameplan
Power stalls in Flemington spin
Toast drawn nine in BC Classic
My Ambivalent passed fit by vets
Harry out to bring House down
Three and easy for ton-up Hanagan
Wood carves out Galway verdict
More Of That in Wetherby frame
Big guns confirmed for Charlie Hall
Byron pencilled in for Far East