Top Notch claimed a decisive victory in the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown.
Nicky Henderson’s charge had been off the track since finishing fourth at Ascot back in January, but he made light work of that absence with a clear-cut verdict over Art Mauresque.
Top Notch was sent off the 4-5 favourite and Daryl Jacob was content to bide his time as stablemate O O Seven cut out the early running, with his main market rival Double Shuffle dropping away with three fences still to jump.
Art Mauresque gave it his best shot with Top Notch offering a chink of hope as he slightly ran down the fence at the last, but the market leader was too strong on the run in.
Jacob said: “He’s a lovely little horse. He wasn’t quite right for Cheltenham and Aintree and it paid dividends today.
“This season has been great, it’s a dream job and horses like this help you get up on a morning.
“Simon (Munir) and Isaac (Souede, owners) are like my best friends. It’s been a magic season.”
Henderson said: “He is a horse that you just can’t help but admire and love. He came to us a four-year-old and looked like just a four-year-old hurdler and that is all that he would do.
“Then he had a good season over hurdles after that and you wonder what on earth he could do. We tried him over fences, but I never thought he would make a chaser.
“It doesn’t stop them because they are little, but he has got a heart of gold. He has been great all year. He just had that terrible run at Ascot. It was really disappointing, but he was very wrong after it and we couldn’t get him right in time for Cheltenham.
“At least he has proved he is back and enjoying himself again.”
He added: “I think you’ve got to try him over three miles. Anthony (Bromley, owners’ racing manager)has got all sorts of ideas. I think he is going to throw the French programme book at me.
“Now he is back on song I would be concentrating on next year. The Peterborough Chase again is the obvious one and if that went well, you could think about the King George.”
Henderson’s day got even better as Call Me Lord cantered home in the bet365 Select Hurdle, an hour after stable star Altior had claimed another Grade One success in the Celebration Chase.
Call Me Lord was sent off 6-4 joint-favourite along with Wholestone, who also runs in the colours of Munir and Souede and was Jacob’s pick.
However, the Grade Two turned into something of a parade as Call Me Lord came home 16 lengths clear of Lil Rockerfeller with Wholestone only third.
Henderson said: “He has seen it out well. It was experimental. He has got to go right handed. At some stage he will have to go left handed. I don’t think it will work, but we have to try it. I thought he was doing too much.
“He was over-racing and not concentrating on his jumping, but jeepers, he has got some gears over two miles and to do that at the end of two-miles-five was exciting and he still kicked the last out of the ground.
“We’ve got lots of tidying up to do and if he goes the other way, we have got so many more options. Anthony (Bromley) wants to go chasing, but I don’t think that’s the solution at the moment.
“I’d say that is him finished now. It was always the plan to run today and then that was it.”
Henderson and De Boinville rounded off the campaign in style as Soul Emotion (5-1 favourite) won the closing bet365 Handicap Hurdle.