Sebastopol, who had been set to win when falling on his previous visit to Kempton Park, made no mistake despite a final-fence scare in the Virgin Bet Free Bets For Winners Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
Under Stan Sheppard the 9-4 joint-favourite quickly shook off the attentions of market rival Golden Boy Grey but was too close to the last, sparking a worrying moment for trainer Tom Lacey before his charge regathered himself to score by six lengths.
Lacey admitted: “My heart was in my mouth when I saw his head dipping towards the floor, but thank goodness he was OK.”
Sebastopol has often had to accept a minor cheque and Lacey, who has surpassed his previous best tally both of winners and prize-money earned, added: “He had a run of seven seconds which was frustrating, but he’s a good horse on his day.
“Stan knows all the horses inside out, as he rides out six mornings each week.
“This was good compensation for him getting knocked over by the birch on a previous run here, and we will look at targets in the spring such as Ayr, but he’s incredibly ground dependent.”