Nuts Well gave Northumberland trainer Ann Hamilton her biggest success to date in the Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree.
The nine-year-old, whose top-weight of 11st 10lb was reduced by the 3lb claim of jockey Danny McMenamin, outstayed Clondaw Castle to claim the £36,000 first prize.
Imperial Presence made most of the running with Midnight Shadow and Crievehill to the fore with the latter going on four out.
He was soon challenged by Oldgrangewood and Clondaw Castle, who put in their bids with Itchy Feet and Nuts Well.
There was little between the quartet at the last, but Nuts Well (18-1) and Clondaw Castle knuckled down to fight it the finish.
It was only in the closing strides Nuts Well got on top, to win by a length and a half. Itchy Feet was a length back in third, with four and a half lengths back to Oldgrangewood in fourth.
Nuts Well was given a quote of 33-1 for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with Betfair and Paddy Power.
Downpatrick-born McMenamin – who is based with Nicky Richards, who trained three-time Old Roan winner Monet’s Garden – told Racing TV: “He showed a lot of heart out there today, he had to dig deep for it but he did it in the end.
“I didn’t want to rush him, I wanted him to see out the trip. He got the revs up a bit at the last and got in a bit tight, but he was quick away from the back of it.
“It’s great to win this race.”
There was early drama in the two-and-a-half-mile feature when Robbie Power was unseated from the well-fancied Vision Des Flos at the second fence.
The obstacle was bypassed on the second circuit as the Gold Cup-winning rider received treatment, but while stood down for the rest of the day he was able to walk back into the weighing room, having thankfully escaped serious injury.
Elsewhere on the card, Minellacelebration continued his love affair with the Merseyside venue as he recorded a third course and distance success in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Veterans’ Handicap Chase.
The 11-year-old, trained by Katy Price, quickly put the race to bed after leading at the second-last fence in the hands of Ben Poste.
The rest of the field were playing for places as the 15-2 chance ran out an emphatic winner of leg three of the veterans’ chase series over three miles and a furlong.
Minellacelebration scored by 14 lengths with Pobbles Bay staying on to claim second spot by a neck from Sametegal.