Pine Creek (11/2) battled on gamely to land the Listed William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot for John Ferguson and Denis O'Regan.
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It had appeared as though the five year old would win the two mile contest with something to spare but he rather dived at the last and struggled to regain his momentum.
That allowed the year younger Chris Pea Green to have another bite of the cherry but, with the eventual winner drifting across him to the rail, Joshua Moore's mount could never quite reel him in in the slow motion finish.
Just three parts of a length separated the pair at the line with Dildar, who had made eyecatching headway approaching the turn in, a further three and three-quarter-lengths back in third.
Ferguson said: "This was the plan for him. We will have to have a look and see what the handicapper does when he is reassessed on Tuesday,
"We will see how he comes out of it before making any plans. He never does a huge amount at home but was in great form. He is a lovely horse, a good mover who has taken naturally to this game."
Gary Moore, trainer of runner-up Chris Pea Green, said: "That was a great run. I will try and go as low-key as I can with him now. I initially put him in the Greatwood Hurdle but pulled him out again, as it is a very tough for a four-year-old.
"I might chuck him in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle (at Newcastle) if the race hasn't closed, but I'm thinking aloud. I'd like to go quietly with him, really. Let's have a look when we get him home."