Taquin Du Seuil impressed in a slowly-run renewal of the Betfred Mobile Sports Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury.
- Related Content
The runners stood still when the tape went up in the two-mile-five Grade One contest before Aidan Coleman reluctantly went on at a trot aboard Ballybough Pat.
The tempo barely increased as the runners headed into the home straight for the first time with market rivals Taquin Du Seuil and Clondaw Kaempfer anchored at the rear of the field.
They remained there for most of the first circuit but began to edge forwards as the field passed their starting point but Clondaw Kaempfer was pulled up not long after making a mistake at the first flight in the home straight.
Lucky Vic had already cried enough and Awaywiththegreys was the next to fly the white flag and with Coleman sending out the distress signals it was left to the 13/8 favourite and Easter Day to fight out the finish.
Tony McCoy drove Taquin Du Seuil into the lead on the approach to the last but he landed flat-footed after a mistake allowing Easter Day another bite of the cherry, but the runner-up couldn't bridge the gap which was extended to nine lengths at the line.
This was Jonjo O'Neill's fourth win in a race (which has frequently proved a guide for future stars through the likes of Denman, Diamond Harry and Bindaree) in 11 years and the Cotswolds handler will have high hopes that the five year old can go on to make his mark at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Sky Bet cut the winner to 8/1 from 14s for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle but he is now set for a break.
O'Neill said: "He doesn't mind that ground, but I'd say he'd be as good a horse on better ground. He'll have a holiday now and might not run until Cheltenham."
Asked if the Neptune would be the target, O'Neill added: "You'd have to be looking that way."
There was concern for Clondaw Kaempfer, who suddenly dropped away in the home straight and was brought to a halt by Jason Maguire.
Trainer Donald McCain said: "Jason thought he had gone wrong but he has pulled up okay."
Ballybough Pat had led the field along at a sedate pace and held on to third.
"I'm quite pleased - the first two have gone past him and he didn't really go with them, but he didn't give up," said trainer Anthony Honeyball.
"He won't do too much this season as he'll be a chaser."