Barry Fenton missed a valuable winning ride as Noel Fehily deputised aboard the front-running Priors Dale in the Dick Reynolds Novices’ Handicap Chase at Wincanton.
Fenton was stood down after receiving a knock to the head during a fall in the opening race and subsequently missed out on plundering the £18,000 (€27,200) feature on Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old.
Only four runners faced the starter in the two-mile contest, despite a strong-looking five-day entry, with the 6-1 chance jumping off in the lead and staying there for the duration.
Trouble At Bay and Nippy Des Mottes never landed a blow as Priors Dale shrugged off 6-4 favourite Flying Enterprise turning for home before collecting by four lengths.
Lavelle said: “His jumping wins his races and he has gone and done it well.
“He barely gets two miles so running on a sharp track like this helped, but for that reason he won’t go to Cheltenham and we’ll save him for Aintree.
“There are other races on the way and he might come back here for another novice on the 17th.”
Fenton, who was stood down by the course doctor, will now have to pass a concussion test before resuming duty after medical staff claimed he was knocked unconscious in the fall.
Lavelle and Fehily went on to complete a 356-1 double as Marcus produced a 50-1 shock in the £14,000 (€21,100) Betdaq 0% In Running ’National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.
The grey had shown virtually nothing in three previous outings, but fared much better on the quicker ground in scoring by six lengths from 3-1 favourite Trigger The Light.
Lavelle added: “I am staggered as he is such a big, backward baby.
“This is the first time he has run on decent ground, which we thought would suit him, and it had made a real difference.
“If he can do this now he will be an even nicer horse next year.”
Bertie May was another big-price winner when obliging at 66-1 under Darren O’Dwyer in the Harry Stock Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Kevin Bishop’s newcomer found a late surge in the closing stages to send him a length clear of Paul Nicholls’ Nosler, with the champion trainer’s Gansey a two-length third.
Karello Bay had no trouble landing the odds as the 2-5 favourite in the EBF Mares Only ’National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.
The Listed bumper winner was an eyecatching third on her jumping debut and only had to be shaken up by Mick Fitzgerald to see off Star Award by three lengths.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said: “She was here to get qualified for the mares’ final, which has been the plan for her all season.”
Wizard Of Edge appreciated the decent underfoot conditions when scraping home from the staying-on Even More in the CPM Group Handicap Chase.
Rodi Greene found himself in front a long way from home aboard the Ron Hodges-trained seven-year-old and his mount drew well clear jumping the fourth-last fence.
The 25-1 shot was tiring over the final couple of obstacles, however, and was all out to hold the Andrew Thornton-ridden runner-up by half a length.
Hodges said: “I thought he would run better on this quicker ground, but I didn’t think he’d win.
“It was a competitive race and he has done it well. He was always travelling nicely.”
Warningcamp gave Lady Herries her first jumps winner in 328 days with a game weight-carrying performance in the Bet 0% In Running With Betdaq Handicap Hurdle.
Herries has only saddled 11 runners during that time, one of which was this 9-2 shot, who took third over the course and distance on his only start this season last November.
Ridden by Tom Doyle, the six-year-old jumped to the lead over the final flight in the two-mile test and, despite his inexperience over timber, kept battling away to hold Basic Fact and The Local by a length and three quarters and a neck.