Harry Fry's first season as a trainer in his own right took a major step forward as Opening Batsman stole the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton from under the nose of the young handler's mentor Paul Nicholls.
Although responsible for last season's Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby, whom he prepared from what was Nicholls' satellite yard in Seaborough, the 26-year-old's name is now above the same Dorset premises and this Grade Three event was by some way his biggest success so far.
Still a novice but an evident improver, Opening Batsman (12-1) hugged the inside rail under Noel Fehily and finished the three miles that little more strongly than Nicholls' Rolling Aces, who was there with every chance but was beaten by two lengths.
He was roared back by owners the Twelfth Man Partnership, which includes cricketer Andrew Brassington.
"What a day," said Fry, who is the youngest jumps trainer in the country. "I thought Noel gave him an amazing ride and he didn't give away an inch from the inside. The ground and the track suited him perfectly and I'm so delighted.
"Big winners on a Saturday is what it's all about and for a young team, it shows what we can do in the future. He has multiple entries at Cheltenham, but this was the plan and we will enjoy today."
Fry went on: "I wouldn't be where I am without four fantastic years with Paul. He'll be disappointed to be beaten, as we're all competitive, but he was the first to congratulate me."
Nicholls himself said of Rolling Aces: "He's done everything right, but he maybe ran with the choke out a bit and it's cost him at the end. We will maybe look for a novice chase for him at Aintree."
Among the footnotes was the performance of the dashing grey Nacarat, twice a winner and twice more placed in the race. He made a howling error on the first circuit, eventually finishing last, and trainer Tom George announced his immediate retirement.
George said: "That's near enough the first mistake he has ever made and it's his way of telling us he's had enough."
1 May 2016Oasis Fantasy returns to winning ways at Newmarket
Usherette on top for Andre Fabre and France in Dahlia Stakes
John Gosden happy with Crazy Horse and Royal Artillery after Newmarket gallop
Kevin Prendergast puts Awtaad on Classic trial in Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh
Fascinating Rock and Found clash in Mooresbridge showdown at the Curragh
'No obvious cause' for Jack Hobbs Newmarket flop - Godolphin
'Incredible' Maurice rules in Champions Mile at Sha Tin
Hugo Palmer to delay Derby call with Guineas star Galileo Gold
Roger Varian backs Belardo to bounce back at Newbury
Roger Varian has Intilaaq in 'great shape' for Sandown mission
Warren Greatrex aims high with Punchestown hero One Track Mind
Iain Jardine considers Haydock heat for 'improving' Shrewd
National hero Pineau De Re bows out at Uttoxeter
Whiteout holds Limini for surprise Punchestown victory
Galileo strikes Guineas gold for Frankie Dettori and Hugo Palmer
Exosphere sparkles as Jack Hobbs is pulled up in Jockey Club Stakes
US Army Ranger leads Aidan O'Brien entries in Chester Vase
Knight Owl swoops for James Fanshawe at Newmarket
Profitable lives up to his name with Palace House triumph at Newmarket
Covert Love to miss Middleton Stakes at York
David Elsworth has Arabian Queen in bloom for Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket
30 April 2016Tommy Dowling suffers multiple injuries in Fontwell fall
Eddie Lynam and Sole Power charged up for Newmarket House raid
Eddie Lynam and Sole Power charged up for Newmarket House raid
Marcel set to feel the Force in 2000 Guineas
Fringe a cut above at Punchestown once more
Gavin Cromwell joy as Jer's Girl has the power at Punchestown
Vroum Vroum Mag hits top gear at Punchestown for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh
Minding out to master 1000 Guineas rivals at Newmarket
Classic 'acid test' looms for 2000 Guineas favourite Air Force Blue
Limini sights set on Mares Champion prize at Punchestown
Jack Hobbs returns in 'proper' Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket
29 April 2016Jack Kennedy dazzles aboard Punchestown winner Definite Ruby
Avant Tout sweet at Punchestown under cool Paul Townend
Shin A Vee glee at Punchestown for Denis Cullen
Sir Michael Stoute throws Cannock Chase in Huxley hat at Chester
Iain Jardine keen on Nakeeta for Chester Cup glory
David Wachman calls time on Legatissimo career
John Gosden considers racecourse gallop for Derby dark horse Royal Artillery
Lingfield Friday card switched to the all-weather
Apple's Jade seeking Champion honours at Punchestown
Minding heads sweet sixteen for 1000 Guineas at Newmarket
Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa not banking on title defence
Michael O'Leary admits to Don Cossack career fears
All options open next year to dazzling Douvan after festival hat-trick
This is where we want to be - Warren Greatrex on top with One Track Mind
Nicky Henderson gets on Punchestown scoresheet with Cup Final
Quantitativeeasing adds up to La Touche glory for Enda Bolger
Galileo Gold all the rage in 2000 Guineas market
Bright New Dawn lights up Punchestown Festival
'Not a bother' on National hero Rule The World after Punchestown
Willie Mullins pursues Punchestown prize with revved-up Vroum Vroum Mag
Gavin Cromwell has Jer's Girl 'in great nick' for Punchestown date
28 April 2016Dynamite Douvan delivers once more at Punchestown
One Track Mind takes Stayers Hurdle honours as Shaneshill crashes out
Ed Dunlop - Derby trial option open to Amazing Red
Elusive Ivy not for catching at Punchestown
Steve Rogers confirmed by Roger Varian for Chester Cup
Noel Meade relief as Road To Riches escapes serious injury
Willie Mullins gives Limini the chance to shine at Punchestown
Ivanovich Gorbatov and Apple's Jade renew rivalry at Punchestown
Air Force Blue spearheads 2000 Guineas field at Newmarket for Aidan O'Brien
Augusta Kate has Lee Westwood and Alan Shearer celebrating Punchestown glory
Cavalier carries big weight to Punchestown triumph
Barry Geraghty salutes John Kiely as Carlingford takes Gold at Punchestown
Blow By Blow makes it a first Grade One success for Katie Walsh at Punchestown
Bellshill digs deep for Daily Mirror Novice honours at Punchestown
All-the-way Gifted Master on top in Pavilion Stakes
Mizzou makes it a Sagaro double at Ascot
Wesley Ward lives the American dream at Ascot