Leroy Leroy continued his recent rejuvenation since switching codes after securing his second win over hurdles with victory at Huntingdon.
Having become frustrating on the Flat, the Compton Place gelding followed up victory at Southwell under a penalty in the MansionBet Beaten By A Head Novices’ Hurdle.
Travelling well throughout, the Jim Boyle-trained 10-11 favourite found enough from the last in the two-mile prize to defeat Ajero by three-quarters of a length.
Boyle said: “Since he has gone hurdling he has turned a corner.
“We were very frustrated with him on the Flat. He schooled so nicely we thought we had to give it a go down this route and he hasn’t looked back.
“He didn’t win quite as impressively today, but that was with the penalty and I think the second could be quite a smart horse.
“At some point we will step into handicap company and see how far we can go. He is certainly turning into the fun horse we thought he would be when we bought him as a Flat horse.”
Keith Dalgleish could have a potentially smart type on his hands in Arthur’s Seat, who ran out an impressive winner of the MansionBet At Huntingdon ‘Junior’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, to complete a double for jockey Sean Bowen.
The winning rider said of the 5-1 chance: “I was trapped wide early and I had to go more forward than I wanted to be, but I didn’t want to be five wide.
“That meant I was left in front too soon. For a horse that has not run before he was very straightforward and not keen.
“He is a big, beautiful horse and has got a frame to fill into. I wouldn’t mind riding him when he goes novice hurdling.”
The Caroline Bailey-trained Elkstone (7-1) got the ball rolling for Bowen when holding off Moans Cross in the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase to register back-to-back wins in the two-and-a-half-mile contest.
Bailey’s husband, Gerald, said: “If he had not nearly got brought down he would have won by six or seven lengths and gone up 10lb.
“I thought this was a better race than last year and I did fancy him today. He is much better right-handed and here they often go so much of a gallop that helps him.
“I was told if I had a winner here today I could have some champagne, so I said ‘put it on ice!’.”
The switch to front-running tactics appeared to work wonders for the David Bridgwater-trained Dutch Admiral as he ran out a two-and-a-quarter-length winner of the Bet 10 Get 20 With MansionBet Juvenile Hurdle.
Victorious pilot Brendan Powell said of the 18-1 shot: “The last twice he has run we took a bit of time with him and he just sulked in behind.
“We tried something different and it worked.”
The Gary Moore-trained Crystal Lad (11-4) gained his first win in more than three years when getting the better of Its’Afreebee by a neck in the MansionBet Proud To Support British Racing Handicap Hurdle.
Joshua Moore did the steering and said: “A flat track and nice ground is what he likes. He has come down the weights, but he is a nice horse. Things have just not fallen right in the last couple of years.
“Hopefully he can win again now.”