De Rasher Counter completed a fine 48 hours for trainer Emma Lavelle with victory in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.
Lavelle saw her crack staying hurdler Paisley Park return in style on Friday – and a day later was in the headlines again as 5lb claimer Ben Jones showed just why he is regarded as one of the riding finds of the season.
After hiding his mount for more than half of the race, Jones moved closer and was to the fore from five out.
De Rasher Counter (12-1) set sail for home in the long straight and had enough in hand to hold The Conditional (20-1) by a length and a half.
Last year’s runner-up Elegant Escape (15-2) stayed on strongly for third place, half a length away, with Beware The Bear (25-1) a neck back in fourth.
West Approach, the 13-2 favourite, unseated Robbie Power early on, while the fancied Irish-trained Cabaret Queen was pulled up after six out.
Lavelle said: “It’s just unbelievable. I’m so proud of what Ben has done on him and so proud of the team.
“There were a few sore heads after (Paisley Park winning) yesterday. I can’t imagine what it will be like after today.
“I’m so proud of everybody, I really am, that we have been able to get these horses right for the big day this weekend. It’s close to home and is so special for everybody.
“We are lucky we have got amazing owners. We have patient owners that let the horses develop. We could have taken this horse to Cheltenham last season, but mentally we didn’t think he was ready for it and the owners were prepared to wait with this being the target.
“It is just magical when it comes off, as so often it doesn’t. I can’t believe it.”
Reflecting on the ride of Jones, the Andover trainer said: “It is that innocence of youth, although that is probably the wrong word, but when you are young and you don’t know what can go wrong at this stage of your life, you are just riding at the top of your game – that is what he was doing.
“Barry (husband and assistant trainer) said he was riding on instinct. I really can’t believe it – how has this just happened?”
Asked about future plans for the winner, who is part-owned by Paisley Park’s owner Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, Lavelle said: “We will see how he is after today and see what the handicapper does to him, then make a plan.
“It (Grand National) is something we have spoken about, but he is only a second-season chaser. It would be too soon, but come back to me with some other ideas and we will see what we do.”
Jones, 20, said: “This horse is so game. I thought I might have got there a bit too early, but luckily he kept galloping and jumping. He loved it.
“I can’t thank Emma, Barry Fenton and the team enough, just to trust me to ride this horse in the race – let alone do what I’ve done. I owe it to them.”