Takingrisks stayed on stoutly to see off the bold front-running bid of Aye Right in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.
The 2019 Scottish National hero was sent off at 40-1 having not won since his Rehearsal Chase success last season, but again proved he has stamina in abundance.
Aye Right gave his all once more, just as he had in the Ladbrokes Trophy in which he finished second to Cloth Cap.
He was still in front jumping the last as the favourite, Cap Du Nord, who travelled smoothly throughout before hitting the second last hard, and Takingrisks bore down on him.
As Cap Du Nord began to tire, it was Nicky Richards’ 12-year-old who kept finding more for Sean Quinlan, with Takingrisks claiming it by a length and a quarter with a further two and a half lengths back to Cap Du Nord. Canelo was fourth.
Richards said: “I thought he’d run a good race.
“I thought he was as good as anything in the race. Age might be a barrier to a lot of people, that he’s getting on a bit, but he doesn’t know how old he is and he doesn’t perform like an old-age pensioner.
“He got out of the gate lovely and got into a grand rhythm. Then it was starting to look like it was going to be a stamina test and I thought ‘we’re in business now’.
“He’s won three top-class handicap chases. He’s a lovely horse.
“I think time has slipped him past for the Grand National to be fair to him. I think he’ll probably go for the Scottish National. That will be the plan.”
Quinlan said: “He’s usually very slowly away. I just said to Nicky before we went out there’d be plenty of pace, so I’d get him winging over the first two and let him sit and travel handy.
“They went a good gallop and he was a bit long at the first. He’s taken me everywhere, he’s jumped and travelled. Going to three out, he’s had a bit of a blow and I thought that was his running done now, but from the back of the second last he’s just stayed. He winged the last and stayed on all the way to the line.
“Aye Right was second in a Hennessy and I thought he was the horse to beat. He was in front a long way and was probably waiting for one to come and do him.
“Nicky has done a fantastic job with this horse. Two years ago he won the Scottish National and last year he was going for the Grand National and it was called off.
“The plan was the Scottish National this year, but we thought we’d take a race or two on the way and he’s done it today, which is great.”
Aye Right’s trainer Harriet Graham was left ruing her luck after hitting the bar in another big race.
She said: “It’s cruel to be second, he ran such a cracking race. In the Ladbrokes Trophy he was well beaten, but this time he could have done it.
“I thought for a minute he might just hold on, but he probably needs another two furlongs – he’s an out-and-out stayer.
“Callum (Bewley) dropped his whip and he’s upset, but that’s racing and there will be a big one in him.”
Christian Williams was satisfied with the effort of third-placed Cap Du Nord.
He said: “He ran a great race. I’m delighted. He travelled well and stayed well. I was pleased with him.”