Domaine De L’Isle repaid trainer Sean Curran’s long journey to Newcastle with a commanding victory in the Impeccable Pig Inn, Sedgefield Handicap Chase.
The promising seven-year-old, making a 560-mile round trip from his Lambourn yard, was also providing jockey’s title challenger Brian Hughes with his 105th winner of the season.
Hughes made steady ground on Domaine De L’Isle to lead from three out in the feature handicap, and then produced the best jump at the last before striding clear to see off favourite Sam’s Adventure by five and a half lengths at 3-1.
The winner was stepping up to almost three miles for the first time, after a convincing success at just under two and a half under Gavin Sheehan last month.
Hughes told Sky Sports Racing: “The race he won last time at Chepstow, they went a good old gallop – and Gavin said this morning he’d get the trip no problem.
“The second (here) is no mug – he was second to Lord Du Mesnil, who has won the Tommy Whittle and The Last Fling chases.”
Curran was equally convinced of Domaine De L’Isle’s stamina.
He said: “He carries me every day (on the gallops), so I knew he’d get the trip.
“It was well worth (coming to Newcastle). He was in at Sandown as well, but we opted to come here – and thank God it worked out.
“This race was worth 10 grand more (than Sandown’s), so we’ve got some diesel money today.”
Donald McCain’s Pinch Of Ginger had earlier got his head home in front for the first time, in the Sky Sports Racing On Virgin 535 Handicap Chase – after his two previous career victories both came with the help of the stewards.
Joint top weight here, the nine-year-old was following up quickly after his promotion from second at Catterick last week – having been granted the verdict following a dead-heat at Bangor two years ago.
Lorcan Murtagh had Pinch Of Ginger prominent throughout, and they stayed on well once challenged by favourite What’s The Scoop to win by two and three-quarter lengths at 7-2.
Murtagh said: “He was a bit braver than me at some of the jumps on the way round.
“He needs every yard of the two-and-a-half (miles), and he stuck his head down and put the race to bed after the last.
“He’s only won twice before today, and won both of them in the stewards’ room, so I’m delighted he got this win on his own merit.”
Overthetop continued Olly Murphy’s return to form, in the Sky Sports Racing On Sky 415 Novices’ Hurdle, completing a double for the stable and jockey Fergus Gregory after their success with Alpha Carinae in the opening all-weather bumper.
Their second win on the card, with the 10-11 favourite, came as Overthetop got the better of his only serious market rival Prince Kayf in a steadily-run race which predictably developed into a match.
Overthetop, returning to winning ways after suffering his first career defeat in a Sandown Grade Two last month, had a length and a half to spare at the line.