Elixir De Nutz made it two wins from his last two appearances with a front-running success in the British Stallion Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
A Grade Two winner at the track last month, the Colin Tizzard-trained four-year-old successfully gave 10lb to his four rivals to claim the two-mile-one-furlong prize by a length and three quarters.
The winner was cut from 33-1 into 25-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March by Paddy Power.
Tizzard said: “He made the running here last time and Harry (Cobden) wanted to keep it simple.
“You can go as fast as you like over two miles and he will get that trip however fast they go. He jumps so well.”
He added: “That was a relief, as some of ours have not been running well over the last two weeks and I was getting a bit jumpy, but he was all right.
“He will have one more run then go for the Supreme, as I don’t think we are brave enough to go two and a half.”
The Worlds End got his chasing career back on track with an emphatic success in the Neville Lumb Novices’ Chase.
After finishing third behind Ibis Du Rheu here last time out, the Tom George-trained seven-year-old reversed the form in defeating his old rival by 26 lengths under Noel Fehily, deputising for Adrian Heskin who suffered a broken leg at Taunton on Thursday.
There was early drama in the extended three-mile-one-furlong contest when second-favourite Lil Rockerfeller unseated Wayne Hutchinson at the second fence.
George said: “I suppose the first thing you have to say is sorry for Adrian Heskin who is not riding today.
“Last time he was a bit too careful, but he was very good today. He will go on soft ground, but he doesn’t want heavy up to his knees, like he had to run on last winter.
“Kempton (Kauto Star Novices’ Chase) would not be his track and that would be sharp enough and soon enough.
“He is a proper staying horse. We’ve made no plans. We will enjoy today. One thing about him he will stay all day – I’m not saying he needs to be going for the four-miler, but he could do that as well.
“His next run will be important, when he runs against some higher-class horses in his generation.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies hinted an outing in the Grand National could be on the agenda for Cogry following his battling success in the CF Roberts 25 Years Of Sponsorship Handicap Chase.
Despite pressed by Rolling Dylan and Singlefarmpayment over the last, the nine-year-old fought valiantly before getting up on the line to score by a head.
The trainer said of his 9-1 winner: “He is a genuine little horse that runs his heart out every time. That’s his third win round here so he can’t be too bad.
“Maybe he could have an entry in the Grand National or something like that, as he stays and jumps beautifully. Failing that he could go back to the Scottish National.
“I think better ground helps him. There is the Classic Chase at Warwick and that could be for him next.”
Cogry was ridden by Twiston-Davies’ son, Sam, and the Naunton handler added: “It is so lovely to have Sam back. He never does anything wrong and is a joy to have about.”
Twiston-Davies feels the sky could be the limit for Al Dancer (3-1), who completed a hat-trick with a resounding 11-length success in the Catesby Handicap Hurdle to get the ball rolling for the father and son duo.
He said: “That is what racing is about, dreaming. He is unbeaten over hurdles, so you have got to dream.
“He was a nice horse in bumpers last season and is improving. He will certainly have an entry in the Betfair (Hurdle) and we will just have to see what the handicapper does.
“The Festival is where we want to come and Dai Walters (owner) likes going there, so that’s our plan.”
Richard Johnson gave her a great rideRichard Johnson gave her a great ride
Richard Johnson and Gordon Elliott are always a force when teaming up together and so it proved once again as Synopsis (13-2) defied top weight to take the CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services’ Mares’ Handicap Chase.
Elliott said: “She is good, honest mare. I thought it was an exceptional performance with the weight she had.
“Richard Johnson gave her a great ride. He let the race happen in front of them and followed them round. The ground was probably as good as she has had.”
The Dr Richard Newland-trained Aaron Lad (15-2) found plenty when it mattered most to fight off a host of challengers and run out a three-length winner of the Citipost Handicap Hurdle.
Mark Ansell, spokesman for part-owners Off The Clock Partners, said: “He is a little pocket rocket and is an incredibly brave little horse. If he is thereabouts he will always keep on going.
“The aim for him is the Pertemps.”