Lake View Lad made his first start in Trevor Hemmings’ colours a winning one in the BetVictor Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle.
Trained by Nick Alexander, the eight-year-old was settled in mid-divison by Henry Brooke as Otago Trail put the pace to the race.
As one by one the challengers dropped away – the well-fancied duo of Big River and Bishops Road both fell – Lake View Lad moved menacingly into contention.
By the third last, he had joined Otago Trail but could not shake him off, and it all came down to who jumped the final fence best.
As Otago Trail, having his first run for more than 600 days, put in a short one, Lake View Lad jumped clear to win at 8-1. Captain Chaos passed Otago Trail for second, two and three-quarter lengths away.
Alexander said: “He’s a smashing horse. I wasn’t worried about stamina, but I was concerned I hadn’t got a run into him.
“I was concerned, because he hadn’t run since April. I wanted to run at the first meeting here, but the ground was so fast.
“The Tommy Whittle probably comes too soon, and he’d probably be too high for that anyway, but the Peter Marsh in January could be something we’ll target.
“It’s a nice way to start for Trevor anyway – and he’s still a young horse.”