San Benedeto provided Paul Nicholls with a ninth victory in the William Hill Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.
First run in 2004, this two-and-a-half-mile Grade Three has been farmed by the Ditcheat maestro – claiming eight wins in just 15 years.
He had a strong hand in the latest renewal, with 11-1 shot San Benedeto joined by two stable companions in 5-1 favourite Dolos and 14-1 chance Warriors Tale – and it was Nick Scholfield’s mount who got the job done in determined fashion.
Gala Ball – making his first competitive appearance in over 700 days for Philip Hobbs – looked set to make a winning return when travelling strongly in the lead halfway up the home straight.
But San Benedeto took over after the final fence and kicked clear for a two-and-a-quarter-length verdict.
Gala Ball performed admirably in second, with Valdez and Javert third and fourth respectively.
Nicholls told Racing TV: “Nick has won on this horse before at Aintree. He’s had a tough time of late with injury and I think that’s his first winner back, so it was good and it all went to plan.
“This horse has run ordinary all season really and we’ve just changed things with him and kept him fresh and this was the perfect race for him. Sometimes horses like him that are on the fringe of Graded races are better off in handicaps.
“Hopefully he’ll head to Aintree now for the Topham – we’ve always felt that might be a race that would really suit him.”