Delight for Dartnall
Victor Dartnall was out of luck with Giles Cross in the Welsh National but enjoyed his first winner since his string returned to action when Seebright (9-2) took the concluding bumper.
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An outbreak of equine herpes has meant Dartnall's season has barely got of the ground but he has a promising youngster on his hands in the shape of the Ryan Mahon-ridden winner.
"I'm so delighted. I thought he was well. I was pleased with Giles Cross but he just got a bit tired and Denis (O'Regan) pulled him up," said Dartnall.
"It's our first winner back so it's onwards and upwards. The stable are back in good health but some need a bit more time. In the next fortnight we'll just tread carefully and then we'll really start to get going. I think I'll run this lad in a three-mile hurdle next."
Rebecca Curtis made the perfect start to Welsh National day when plundering the first race on the card, the Download Coral Mobile From The App Store Maiden Hurdle, with O'Faolains Boy.
Curtis regards O'Faolains Boy as a better prospect for fences next season, but will monitor his progress with a view to looking at the Neptune and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdles at the Festival.
Tony McCoy was challenged by Oscar Magic and Un Ami three flights out, where the last-named horse made a mistake, leaving O'Faolains Boy (7-2) to come home from Oscar Magic and Fourovakind in a time 29 seconds slower than the standard.
Curtis said: "I shall probably give him another run over the same sort of trip and then look at the two Cheltenham options.
"Tony said he handled the track and that the ground wasn't as bad as he thought it might be.
"Whatever he achieves over hurdles will be a bonus, as I think you'll see a better horse when he goes over fences next season."
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- Coral Welsh National day
Although his Sin Bin ran below expectations in the opener, champion trainer Paul Nicholls wasted no time in striking back with 10-11 shot Keppols Hill doing the business under a confident Ruby Walsh in the Get rewards4Racing Points With Coral Beginners' Chase.
Considering he had fallen at the last with the race in the bag at Exeter and made a costly mistake on his only other outing this season, Keppols Hill jumped with alacrity throughout, with Walsh getting some fine leaps from his mount as he was pressed by Arthurian legend and Sherwani Wolf in the long home straight.
Walsh exacted another bold jump from his mount at the last that clinched it, the combination then staying on far too strongly for Arthurian Legend and scoring by two and three-quarter lengths.
Nicholls was represented by his assistant Dan Skelton who said: "He handled the ground and for a horse who'd had those jumping hiccups he was very good at his fences. He stays and keeps pulling out more, and will obviously be suited by extreme distances. It would be no surprise if he ended up running in the Welsh National one day."
A drop back in trip worked the oracle for Carrickboy as the Venetia Williams-trained gelding landed the Coral Mobile Text "Mobile" To 82211 Handicap Chase in the hands of Liam Treadwell.
Carrickboy (7-1) had travelled well for a long way before hitting a wall on his previous start over three miles at Haydock.
Williams explained: "What he needs is a two and a half miles where they go flat out in testing conditions. He ran well at Haydock, but it never happens for him over three. Today it was fortunate he met the last couple on the right stride."
The 11-4 favourite Cedre Bleu looked held in third when falling at the last, leaving Shoegazer to chase home the winner.
Amigo (5/1jf) and Conor O'Farrell had to work hard to land the spoils in the coral.co.uk Best Price Guaranteed On Horse Racing Handicap Hurdle.
Having his second start for David Pipe, he was stepping up in trip and wearing a tongue tie for the first time but saw out the searching test well to deny course and distance winner Fred The Shred by a little over a length.
There was no more popular winner than Seebright (9/2) in the closing Coral Backing 'Macmillan Cancer Support' Standard Open NH Flat Race.