Geraghty and Henderson shine again
Barry Geraghty once again stole the show at Kempton as he followed a remarkable recovery on Tetlami by sweeping up the feature William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle aboard his Nicky Henderson-trained stablemate Oscara Dara.
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Known best for his immaculate positioning and judgement, the Irishman somehow prevented himself from being dislodged when Tetlami stumbled through the final fence of the first circuit of the williamhill.com Novices' Chase and managed to shove his feet back in the irons as he turned out into the country.
Ultimately, the 30-100 favourite raced to a convincing success, as did the well-backed Oscara Dara (5-1) later in the day.
Asked for his gymnastic marks, Henderson said: "I think I'd give Barry a nine. He was lucky it was then, as there was time to recover.
"We've only just got (Tetlami) back and he's had wind operations but he's a good horse and has options on better ground in the spring."
L'Unique (4/5) had earlier got the day off to a perfect start for favourite backers with a smooth victory in the William Hill - No.1 Downloaded Betting App Juvenile Hurdle.
There was plenty of interest in the hurdling debut of Deia Sunrise as Paul Webber's gelding had beaten smart juvenile hurdler Swnymor on the level but the grey son of Clodovil raced too freely and was a spent horse a long way from home.
There were no such concerns for Alan King's filly who settled and jumped well throughout and she had seen off all her rivals at the last bar the under pressure Vibrato Valtat.
Another good leap sealed the contest as Robert Thornton kept her up to her work to score by eight lengths to follow up her debut success at Aintree.
"I'm very pleased with her and her jumping was absolutely superb," said King.
"I'm going to have to test her a bit now to see how good she is. I'm not saying she'll definitely go to Cheltenham - she will have an entry - and I will maybe look at the Adonis back here.
"She's not just a juvenile, she'll make a lovely chaser, and won't have more than two or three more runs this season."
The victory provided some cheer at the end of a trying week for King who lost his 2008 champion hurdler Katchit.
"It has been a tough week with losing Katchit, and another good horse, Lidar, injured himself at Lingfield yesterday by knocking a tendon off his hock. His career is probably over too."
Richie McLernon helped the powerful grey Cloudy Copper to an emphatic defeat of Hold On Julio in the williamhill.com Novices' Hurdle.
Jonjo O'Neill's 5-2 joint-favourite was pouring on the pressure turning for home and added to his debut victory under Rules at Exeter.
"It's nice to get on good horses and have a decent Saturday winner," said McLernon.
"He just stays and gallops, and he liked that soft ground.
"We knew from his point-to-point form that he'll be a three-mile chaser one day."
The impressive winner was handed a 10-1 quote by Paddy Power for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Ian Popham, who only returned with a winner at Catterick earlier in the week on his comeback from a second serious pelvis injury, struck again in the William Hill iPad App Now Available Handicap Chase.
Popham was nice and patient on the Caroline Keevil-trained 9-4 favourite Bally Legend, biding his time as many around him made jumping errors, and he pushed the gelding away from Niceonefrankie to record a two-and-three-quarter-length victory.
"I've worked very hard to get back, and big thanks to all of those who supported me," said Popham.
"Hopefully I'll now get a clear run until the end of the season.
"This is a cool little horse - he was idling a bit in front but he had deserved to get his head in front."
It was pleasing to see former Gold Cup-winning trainer Noel Chance back in the swing as Brackloon High (6-1) took the William Hill - Download The App Handicap Chase under smart amateur Nico de Boinville.
"He's a funny horse who runs in snatches, and we just wanted to win a decent race with him," said Chance.
The good form of the Gary Moore yard continued with Whitby Jack (10-1) in the concluding William Hill - Download The App Handicap Hurdle.