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."
29 July 2015Tributes pour in for O'Sullevan
It's Shanahan's turn at Galway
Sir Peter O'Sullevan dies, aged 97
Kachy not for catching in Molecomb
No Sussex regrets for O'Brien
Solow flying high at Goodwood
Highland reels in Gordon rivals
Fortune favours Twiston-Davies
Peacock pair vie for Galway glory
Shalaa in top trim for Richmond
Dunlop excited by Trip to Goodwood
Moviesta gets King George go-ahead
Karakontie has Deauville date
Dog delivers for Mullins and Walsh
Tint proves Topaz jewel
Maguire back in the saddle
Blue back with a bang
Tough Toormore takes Lennox glory
All roads lead to Arc for Postponed
Logan shines for Kirby
Frankie grabs Gold at Goodwood
So seeking Sussex success
28 July 2015King targeting Molecomb reign
Mullins hoping Bob is back
Wayman lands BHA role
Medrano eyeing Gordon glory
Options open for Force
Group race aim for Nisser
Modem takes control
Solitaire shines in Weld double
Bach in business
Vastonea out to sparkle in Topaz
Tanzeel unlikely for Cup date
Birch bids for Vintage victory
Toor targets Lennox triumph
Gleneagles misses Solow clash
Charlton eager for Golden Test
27 July 2015Modem takes control
Bach in business
Morny 'ideal race' for Gutaifan
Fahey ponders options for Guest
Perth double-header a washout
Sovereign option for Kodi
Salisbury option for Salvo
Group One trio top Nassau entries
Rain claims Tuesday Perth card
Perth card in doubt
McDonald nets Carlisle hat-trick
Mondialiste impresses in Pomfret
Injury in stalls forces Pilot out
Coleman lands Ferguson role
Gutaifan takes Papin honours
O'Brien plots Goodwood Air raid
Toormore seeks Lennox redemption
Buratino to take flight in Phoenix
Sovereign too soon for Elm Park
26 July 2015Lonsdale aim for admirable Cookie
Murphy looking for Top performance
Rizeena to chart Rothschild route
Erupt firing for Niel Arc prep
Meade sweet on Hugh's for Kurland
Newland considers Pineau future
Injured McCullagh 'very stable'
Ship ready to Fire in Pomfret
BHA to launch Bid inquiry
Post delivers in King George epic
Horn set York mission
Speedy Tanzeel downs Dash rivals
Guest is heaven sent for Fahey
Tullius topples Tonto at York
Goodwood heroes back for more
Besh the best in Princess Margaret
Sixth Sense an Ascot blockbuster