Top-weight Trustan Times ran on gamely to land Haydock's Betfair Don't Settle For Less 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle.
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Tim Easterby believed that the handicapper had treated his six-year-old harshly in handing him an 8lb rise for his win in a Wetherby handicap last time out but the increment didn't prove enough to prevent Trustan Times getting the better of Holywell in the valuable handicap.
The field were tightly grouped as American Spin took them along at a sensible gallop for the first circuit in the testing conditions although Barafundle failed to settle and Katkeau tanked along throughout.
The latter was still travelling strongly with the field well strung out in the straight but he lost his back legs at the third last which put paid to his chances of taking a hand in the finish.
The only other runner seemingly travelling well at the time was the Dougie Costello-ridden winner but he had to put his head down and battle for the spoils as the runner-up pushed him all the way to the line.
The winning margin was two and three-quarter lengths with a further four and a half back to Sivola De Sivola who, once again, raced on and off the bit throughout while Barafundle did remarkably well to keep on for a distant fourth on his first start for 618 days.
Easterby said: "That was really nice. I thought the handicapper had overdone him after Wetherby, but I was wrong and he was right.
"I bought him out of a point-to-point and it's just taken a bit of time.
"We ran him over fences last season and he was just getting into the bottom of one or two of them, so we decided to switch back to hurdles for a while.
"He could be a top chaser one day but we will stick to this for now. I don't know where he will go now as this has been the plan."
Trustan Times received a 25/1 quote for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with the sponsors and connections will be hoping that he can prove as successful as the last three winners of this race, Dynaste, Grands Crus and Diamond Harry.