Sam Winner fought off Le Bec to win the Ryman Stationery Novices' Chase under Daryl Jacob.
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In a race that was a re-match of a clash between the first, second and third from the three-mile novice chase at the previous Cheltenham meeting, it was Sam Winner who reversed the form in some style to earn a quote of 16/1 for the RSA Chase from Sky Bet, although connections may instead send him for the four miles of the National Hunt Chase.
Sent to the front from the start by Jacob, Sam Winner jumped well while his rivals made a number of minor mistakes in behind.
Shutthefrontdoor, sent off the 13/8 favourite, lacked fluency at his fences and dropped out of contention from the third-last fence.
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That left Le Bec, giving weight away all round on the strength of his latest victory, to throw down a challenge to Sam Winner around the home turn.
It was a thrilling duel from that point as Le Bec looked as if the race was going his way without quite being able to put his stamp on the contest and the briefly collided going to the last two as Le Bec struggled to get past.
And having met the last fence on another good stride, Sam Winner responded when his jockey went for everything on the run-in and stretched away to score by four lengths.
Le Reve, who jumped worst of all on the first circuit, kept on to deny Shutthefrontdoor third place.
Sam Winner's trainer Paul Nicholls said: "This was the ideal track for him. He wasn't right last year, but he's back now and he's eliminated the silly mistakes.
"He'll have an entry for the RSA, but he might be a right one for the four-miler at the Festival as he's a dour stayer."
Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners said: "It was a good effort from Sam Winner who made it a good test and he jumped much the best.
"We've left Le Bec unchanged at 14/1 for the RSA and perhaps he's the one to take out of the race, as he gave the winner 8lb and didn't jump as well as he did here last time."
Of the runner-up, jockey Aidan Coleman said: "He's giving weight away to the winner and that was as good a race as he's run. It was one of the best novice chases of the season, so though it's disappointing not to win he's run a very good race and he's a good horse."