Getaway Trump saved his best until last after putting in a smart weight-carrying performance in the bet365 Novices’ Championship Final Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.
Giving upwards of 10lb away to his rivals, the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old gained his fourth win of the season when prevailing in the two-mile prize.
Moving on under Harry Cobden before the last, the 9-2 favourite stayed on in determined fashion to defeat Harambe by two and three-quarter lengths.
Nicholls said: “We sent him to Ayr to qualify for this race, he had to be in the first six and I thought we blew it as he won so well that day. Today off that mark was a really good performance.
“He just wasn’t quite right when he and Black Corton went to Kelso and they must have been wrong or had a bad journey as they didn’t perform at all.
“He looks great and has kept his condition and has kept on improving. He is an amazing horse, really, considering I couldn’t win a bumper with him last season.”
Looking ahead to next season, Nicholls is considering keeping Getaway Trump to hurdles after he was introduced at 33-1 by Paddy Power for the Champion Hurdle.
He said: “We were going to go chasing, but he is improving rapidly. He would have to progress again to be on the fringes of a Champion Hurdle horse.
“We could start him off in the Elite at Wincanton and if he won that then look at the Fighting Fifth. If we got beat at Wincanton we could go chasing.”
Younevercall made a winning return to action following wind surgery when grinding his rivals into submission in the bet365 Select Hurdle.
Absent since being well beaten behind Paisley Park in the Grade One JLT Hurdle at Ascot in December, the eight-year-old showed his true colours with an authoritative display.
Rayvin Black tried to share pace-making duties, but he did not last too long and the 9-4 favourite turned the screw to score by nine lengths from On The Blind Side for trainer Kim Bailey and jockey David Bass.
Bailey said: “He is a lovely horse. He has had a few issues in his life. We went to Ireland two years ago and thought he would win and he came back with a hairline fracture, so he has been a difficult horse to train.
“He has always had loads of ability and has had a wind operation since he last ran. The horse has been flying at home and he loves that ground.
“He is so low at his hurdles and quick and he would have to lift his feet a little bit higher to jump a fence, but we’ve not schooled him, so we don’t know.
“He is the highest-rated hurdler we have. We ran him in the Long Walk hurdle and he ran a blinder, then his breathing cut out and we did the operation and this race has been geared out since then.
“The Long Walk would be possible again, but I’ve got to work out where I go with him. He is a horse that doesn’t take his racing, so he won’t have many runs.”
Larry (100-30 favourite) had to survive a stewards’ inquiry after giving lumps of weight to Gone Platinum in the bet365 Josh Gifford Novices’ Handicap Chase for trainer Gary Moore with his son Jamie in the plate.
The top-weight hung on by a neck after drifting over to the far side on the run-in, taking the runner-up with him.
Colonial Dreams (14-1) gave trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville a double, following the victory of Altior in the Celebration Chase, with a gutsy win over Wait For Me in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.