Thahab Ifraj showed he was not there to simply make up the numbers when defying his 66-1 price tag with a surprise success in the Smith & Williamson Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton.
Fresh from a spin on the Flat at Wolverhampton 21 days earlier, the Alexandra Dunn-trained five-year-old appeared to benefit for the step up to two and a half miles when proving a length too strong for Whatthebutlersaw.
The West Buckland handler said: “I think clearly as he was 66-1 it was a surprise, but Adam Wedge rode a particularly good race and that was a massive factor.
“The ground was good to firm and it was a slowly-run race that turned into a sprint and with him being Flat-bred on paper these were his conditions.
“We were fit, sharp and ready from the Flat. The yard are chuffed to bits. It was nice to win a Class Three off bottom weight for good prize-money.
“The yard are on a real high and I’m sure a bottle of champagne will be opened at some point.”
She added: “In three weeks time we will finish a major development and will have a 75-box capacity. We’ve had to work hard for this, but things are going well and long may it continue.”
Trainer Katy Price and jockey Ben Poste teamed up to claim a double, kick-started by the 15-length success of Definite Winner (11-1) in the opening Smith & Williamson Salisbury Handicap Hurdle.
Clondaw Rigger (9-4) continued his recent revival when providing Price and Poste with further glory in following up his victory at Chepstow when holding on by three-quarters of a length in the Smith & Williamson Handicap Chase.
Having sent out five winners during the last meeting at the Somerset track, 10-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls had to be content with a double on this occasion, initiated by the length-and-a-quarter victory of Capeland (8-11) under Harry Cobden in the Smith & Williamson Chase.
Rhythm Is A Dancer suffered an odds-on defeat on his previous start at the course but the record was set straight after the 1-7 favourite claimed the Lenny Roberts Memorial Trophy Novices’ Hurdle by seven lengths to complete Nicholls’ and Cobden’s short-priced brace.
Tom George has a smart team under his care and Now Look At Me (8-11) looked to be another useful recruit when carrying the colours of leading owners Paul and Clare Rooney to victory on his debut in the concluding bumper.