Stoney Mountain hit the heights with a solid staying performance to take the Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock.
Tom O’Brien brought Henry Daly’s six-year-old from the clouds to hit the front in the last 75 yards and land the first prize for owner Trevor Hemmings.
Stoney Mountain was only fifth jumping the final flight as long-time leader Acey Milan and Ask Ben looked set to fight out the finish. However, they were spent forces on the stamina-sapping run to the line.
Staying on the best, Stoney Mountain (16-1) got his head in front where it matters to win by two and a quarter lengths.
Acey Milan stuck on for second, with Tedham claiming third place and Ask Ben fourth.
“He’s galloped, he’s jumped and he’s honest,” said Daly.
“He’s every trainer’s dream of a horse. You never really notice him at home and he’s the same in a race. He’s not a horse who stands out in a crowd much, but he’s so honest.”
It is unlikely Stoney Mountain will follow in the hoofprints of recent winners of this race, Sam Spinner and Paisley Park, who have gone on to Grade One glory over the smaller obstacles.
“We can safely say that was the plan,” said Daly.
“As for plans from now, I imagine Trevor (Hemmings, owner) will say fences, fences, fences. We’ll discuss it. We know Trevor loves fences and he’s won a big prize here.”