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."
20 October 2014No rushing back for Long Run
Dynaste leads Old Roan contenders
Grands Crus retired
Chelmsford City handed 58 fixtures
Exciting Berlais heads to Chepstow
Force handed Hong Kong mission
Park favourite for Trophy hunt
Al Kazeem team eye Hong Kong trip
Alderwood to take two-mile test
Dynaste leads Old Roan contenders
Commemorative bound for Breeders'
Hennessy aim for Clouds
Slade eyeing victorious swansong
Fiesolana on Breeders' trail
High-class possibilities for Trophy
Chelmsford City handed 57 fixtures
French option for Maarek
Billy back for chasing bow
Judge to bid for Breeders' glory
Pipe mulls Moon target
High hopes for Holywell
Judge in Breeders' frame
Hill stars for Stoute and Moore
Gabriel lifts Garnet for Deegan
New One back with a win
Light career hangs in balance
Stars shines on hurdling debut
King big guns ready to start
Tullius camp consider options
Doyle unlikely to appeal Ascot ban
Mullins prepares formidable team
19 October 2014New One breezes to victory
Lavelle has Becher plan for Lodge
Riches heading on road north
Down Royal plan for Tiger
New makes Kempton return
Panther hunting Canadian prize
Sun takes a shine to Cork
Hobbs upholds Showcase record
Another gold strike for Bronze
Gallant Noble a true Champion
Head turns on Charm in QEII
Madame is Ascot leading lady
Forgotten rules for Weld
Byron is poetry in motion
18 October 2014Forgotten rules for Weld
War misses Breeders' date
Rakti reaps Caulfield reward
Chatez bids for Balmoral crown
Lavelle duo top Cheltenham card
Integral takes on the boys
Noble on Champion mission
Belardo a Dewhurst sparkler
Together stands firm for Ballydoyle
Ivawood felled by plucky Thought
Crowley doubles up on Berkshire
Tendon injury sidelines Tent
17 October 2014Minstrel calls the tune
Sceaux set for chase campaign
Sari seeking Ascot gold
Charm out to show winning Spirit
Estimate aiming to go the Distance
French veteran back for more
O'Meara - G has the Force
Fallon considers American switch
Cossack maintains Elliott's record
Vautour goes chasing
Lucida heads Godolphin trio
McCoy sits out weekend action
No Middle ground for classy Ivawood
Big guns hold sway for QEII
Cirrus stands firm for Champion
Hanagan: Estidhkaar no soft touch