Indian Castle edged out a game Annacotty in the Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
- Related Content
The winner was sent off at 14/1 after a slightly disappointing run behind Many Clouds at Wetherby but bounced back to form to make the most of the weight that he received from the top-weight.
Annacotty and Super Villan set off at a furious gallop until the latter started to cry enough and Ian Popham was able to take the foot off the pedal aboard the Grade One Feltham Chase winner.
The field moved closer going out onto the final circuit but there were only four in contention coming down the hill with Indian Castle, travelling ominously well, Renard D'Irlande and Ohio Gold stalking Annacotty.
Ohio Gold was the first to crack and Renard D'Irlande could never quite get there but Indian Castle jumped to the lead at the last and appeared likely to go clear.
Annacotty had other ideas, however, rallying gamely but the concession of 9lbs proved beyond him as Jason Maguire drove the winner out to score by a length and three quarters.
Winning trainer Donald McCain said: "I was disappointed he didn't finish his race off the last day at Wetherby, but he looked a different horse today.
"I know the owners would be keen to come back for the Festival, maybe for the novices' handicap or something, I don't know."
Trainer Martin Keighley was delighted with gallant effort of Annacotty, and will now prepare him for a return to Cheltenham in March.
He said: "He's a relentless galloper and I'm over the moon with the run. I said to Ian (Popham) which race (at the Festival) and he said if it's like this and heavy ground then the two-and-a-half-mile novice (JLT) or if it's good ground run in the RSA.
"We'll get him nice and fresh and well, and ready for back here. He's only a six-year-old and there's lots to look forward to, hopefully."