Chris Gordon completed an across-the-card double when Pasvolsky stayed on too strongly for Straw Fan Jack in the Virgin Bet Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.
Gordon was elated that minutes earlier his Reallyradical had provided 93-year-old owner Betty Chantler with her first ever winner in the handicap chase at Fontwell.
He said: “While I’m delighted that Pasvolsky has won here, what can you say about Betty, experiencing her first winner into her nineties?
“We came here thinking we might be in the four, because it looked a competitive little race – but the way he’s won, I have to hope he hasn’t blown his handicap mark.
“The plan was to go on for the Final at Sandown, but we’ll have to see.”
The Virgin Bet Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase turned into a battle between the only two hold-up horses in the field, with Onthefrontfoot beating fellow 6-1 shot Eskendash by a length under Jonathan Burke.
The jockey was full of praise for the Donald McCain-trained winner, and said: “He can operate, and it was quite a thrill once he’d negotiated the first three.
“He’s a horse that knows his limits, and his run at Ludlow was a massive education for him. He enjoys his racing and jumping, and is a typical Donald McCain type.”
Domaine De L’Isle demonstrated how much he has benefited from an operation by wind specialist Ben Brain when he landed the Virgin Bet Handicap Chase for Sean Curran.
Since completing a hat-trick over fences last season, the 14-1 winner had spent his time in racing’s wilderness – but under an inspired ride from Kevin Brogan, he came through to take charge over the final two fences.
Splitting Manofthemountain and Falco Blitz two out, the eight-year-old stayed on strongly to score by five lengths from the former – with Smarty Wild the same distance back in third.
Curran said: “I’d heard a lot of good things about Kevin, and he’s given the horse a super ride. Before today, he’d never met me or even seen me.
“I came here hoping for a competitive run, but the speed they went turned it into more of a two-and-three-quarter-miler, and when I saw where he was turning in, I knew he would pick them up.”
Looking back to his winner’s voyage on a downward spiral this season, Curran added: “He couldn’t lay up with them in the Paddy Power, and on his latest start David Bass said his wind was rotten.
“It’s thanks to Ben Brain, who operated and did a great job, and also the part played by my own vet Peter Thurloe. It really has been an all-round team effort getting him back.”
Future plans for Domaine De L’Isle are fluid, and Curran said: “All I was thinking about was getting him through today. I need to go home and have a look at the programme book.”
The course of the Virgin Bet Free Bets For Winners Novices’ Hurdle changed dramatically when Get Prepared took a horrible fall three out and brought down Press Your Luck.
That left Jeremy Pass in front, chased by Champagne Mystery (5-2) – but after the former hung left on the run-in, his rival took command to score by a length-and-a-quarter for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville.
The winning jockey said: “He was on a bit of a recovery mission after his fall in the Cheltenham race (Caspian Caviar Gold Cup).
“He showed the ability is there, and knuckled down all the way to the line. His jumping was amiss over fences, but it will come back.”
The Virgin Bet Free Bets For Winners Handicap Chase saw Peur De Rien foil a gamble on Big Difference.
The Oliver Sherwood-trained winner gave Burke the second leg of a double.
Explaining why the 11-2 winner has an “up and down” profile, Sherwood said: “He was a Tim Syder horse, but had breathing issues – and Ben Brain did an operation I’d never heard of, which was all or nothing, and it paid off.
“This horse panics when things go wrong, and can go from hero to zero.
“But he’s a joy to have anything to do with, and I think Tim might take him back now. Jonny said he needs three miles, and would be just as happy on bigger tracks.”