The Nick Williams trained Diamond Harry has lived up to the expectations of his connections, scoring a victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
Although many were hoping that race favourite Denman, trained by Paul Nicholls, could make it into the record books with a third win in the event, it was not to be, though he gave a tough performance before waning before the last, eventually claiming third place.
Jockey Daryl Jacob had the job on Diamond Harry, who was always prominent, keeping well in touch with the leaders, progressing to gain a slight lead after the seventeenth, staying on strongly under pressure from runner up Burton Port in the run in, to cross the line one and a quarter lengths the better.
"I know I probably don't look like I'm happy, but I am!" said winning trainer Williams.
"We've won some decent races before, and we've got some nice horses but this is a step up."
Praising the efforts of his wife Jane, who is responsible for much of the hands on tasks, Williams added, "Jane does the training and I do the placing.
"The horse has changed a lot in the last six months and he has a fantastic record at the track, so I thought he had as good a chance as any today.
"Coming into the straight I could see that Daryl hadn't moved and he looked confident all the way through the race. I would have been astounded if anything had got past him from three out."
Regarding the future for his charge, he added, "He's not an obvious Cheltenham horse but we are going to have to look at the Gold Cup.
"He won't run in a whole lot of races now. We entered him in the Lexus Chase and he was probably going to run there if he was placed, but that's not out of the equation yet.
"Otherwise there is the option of going back to Cheltenham for the Trials meeting."
"There was 2st difference between us and Denman and if ever we were going to beat him, it had to be today," said the winning jockey.
"It was an amazing effort from Denman, he was still with me up to the second-last fence and all credit to his trainer Paul Nicholls.
"But I sat on him during the week and I said to Nick I'll never ride a horse like this again.
"I couldn't have asked for a better ride - he jumped, travelled and did everything I wanted him to do.
"He's a young horse and still unexposed. The Gold Cup is a long way off, he was getting a lot of weight and was entitled to win on his hurdles form, but we can dream can't we?"
Nicholls was noticeably moved by the appreciation of Denman, with the 4-1 favourite and former Gold Cup winner roared on by the crowd when he moved into contention even on the back straight, and again when he returned to be unsaddled.
Nicholls said of his charge Denman, "That was an outstanding run at the weights and I always thought Diamond Harry would be very hard to beat if he jumped.
"Nick Williams is a great trainer and Daryl is a brilliant jockey and you have to congratulate them.
"The ground was just a bit lively for him and he was flat out all the way, but that has got to be one of his career-best performances.
"I've had a chat with Sam and because he's best fresh, we're going to give him a break now and go straight for the Gold Cup.
"This is why jumps racing is so popular, the horses keep coming back and races like this are so good for the sport."