Some time on the sidelines and a wind operation helped Darna bounce back to form with a fine display in the Burts Hand Fried Potato Chips Novices' Chase at Exeter.
Trainer Kim Bailey feared his charge had suffered a fatal injury when pulling up sharply after just three fences on his latest racecourse start at Ludlow in December, but thankfully that was not the case and he now looks a horse with a bright future.
The 85-40 chance fenced beautifully in the hands of Jason Maguire and claimed the in-form Mush Mir jumping the fourth last. The result was never in doubt afterwards as he negotiated the final obstacles to win by eight lengths eased down.
Bailey told ATR: "I went cold when I watched the race in Ludlow as he jumped the third fence and pulled up quickly with his hind leg dangling. I thought it was finito, but we got him home and couldn't find anything wrong. We gave him six weeks in the box just in case, since then we gave him a wind operation. He wants good ground and he could go to Ayr."
Thomas Wild got the better of a pulsating battle with Bubbly Bruce to wrest the spoils in the Burts Naturally Delicious Chips Novices' Handicap Chase.
The 6-1 chance was making his fencing debut for Philip Hobbs and while Bubbly Bruce made more of a race of it than looked likely halfway up the straight, Thomas Wild and Michael Nolan were announced the winners by a nose after the judge checked the photo.
Hobbs said: "He's been very consistent and it's great to see him win at long last, even if it was very close."
Knox Overstreet gave Mick Channon a rare winner over jumps when landing the Bhest Racing To School Novices' Selling Hurdle. Channon is better known as a multiple Group One-winning Flat trainer, but this 7-1 chance knuckled down to his task well for Will Kennedy to beat favourite Edgware Road by seven lengths.
The jockey said: "He's off the Flat and is not over-big, so I think the better ground was going to be the key to him. He jumped well and he's done it nicely. I rode out for Mick all last summer and one or two of them I sat on I said would be ideal to go jumping. He sent a couple of them hurdling and they've both won now."
Channon's Osgood ran with credit to fill the runner-up spot in the Childrens Hospice South-West Handicap Hurdle, but was no match for runaway winner Katchmore. The David Pipe inmate was carrying a 7lb penalty, but that was negated by 10lb claimer Tom Bellamy and the 11-8 favourite dominated from the front to score by seven lengths.