Paul Nicholls dominated the finish to the feature race at Taunton, with Bryony Frost and Rockadenn just edging out Harry Cobden on Pic D’Orhy.
Pic D’Orhy looked sure to register his first win since last season’s Betfair Hurdle was cruising to the front at the second-last in the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance Handicap Hurdle.
However, he found a little less than Cobden was expecting, and Frost was at her tenacious best on the Million In Mind-owned winner, with Rockadenn (17-2) prevailing in a photo by a head.
“I didn’t know what to expect because he ran out up at Musselburgh,” said Nicholls.
“The other lad was having his first run since a wind op and maybe I ran him a bit quick.
“He (Pic D’Orhy) has a couple of entries at the Festival in the Coral Cup and the County Hurdle, and he could also go for the Scottish Champion Hurdle before we turn his attention to fences in the autumn.”
Cobden did not leave empty handed, though, as he had earlier provided Colin Tizzard with a welcome winner thanks to The Widdow Maker in the Aspen Waite Complete Business Growth Service Maiden Hurdle.
Always handy, the pair came clear up the run-in to score in a common canter.
Cobden said: “He was quite keen on his previous run which is why Joe (Tizzard) decided to put a hood on him. To be fair he hardly picked up the bridle and it was a good bit of placing.”
Olly Murphy’s Allavina looks a mare of some potential given how she cruised to victory in the British EBF Mares’ National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Aidan Coleman kept apart from Lilly Pedlar all the way up the straight and the 13-8 favourite was not hard pressed to win by six and a half lengths.
Murphy said: “She’s a mare who took a while to get it all together, but she’s hacked up today.
“Aidan was very pleased with her and there’s a possibility that she’ll run in the mares’ final at Newbury.”
The winning Welsh National duo of Evan Williams and Adam Wedge teamed up to score with Ring The Moon (13-8 favourite) in the Kate Austin Misses Her Racing Handicap Chase.
Mitchell Bastyon registered another winner when Laura Young’s Auenwirbel caused a 33-1 surprise in the Taunton Round Table Selling Handicap Hurdle, while Putdecashonthedash (9-1) won the Geoffrey Bosley ‘Tally Ho’ Handicap Chase for Tom Bellamy and Kieran Burke.