Conor O'Farrell benefitted from Tom Scudamore's switch to Newbury as he rode Junior (3/1) to a fluent success in the At The Races Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on Saturday.
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Scudamore made the journey down to Berkshire to ride The Package, who finished fourth in the Hennessy, leaving O'Farrell with a plum ride on the Middleham Park-owned nine-year-old.
The pair took up the running from flagfall and never looked back, jumping to an all-the-way success from Benny Be Good (5/2 favourite) who was one and three quarter lengths back in second.
It was a pleasing success for David Pipe's charge seeing as he was giving weight to the whole field, with the Grand National the long-term plan for the money-spinning horse.
Sky Bet go 33/1 that he lands the big one in April.
"I only found out last night I'd got the ride. I'm very grateful to Mr Pipe and the owners for putting me up," said O'Farrell.
"We left at 4.30 this morning, but at least I can have a sleep on the way back.It was Junior's first run of the season. He was quite fresh, so I just let him bowl along and he enjoyed himself.
"He was gaining ground at a lot of the fences and that is a very big asset for a horse in a race."