Court Minstrel defied top weight to win the Maxilead Metals Handicap Hurdle under Adam Wedge at Aintree.
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Always held in the highest regard by trainer Evan Williams, the winner hadn't been seen in public since finishing fourth behind The New One at Cheltenham in December and was allowed to go off a largely unconsidered 16/1 chance.
But jockey Adam Wedge gave the seven-year-old a really confident ride, holding his mount up towards the rear of the field until unleashing him in the straight.
Somethingwonderful was prominent throughout but his challenge came to a halt at the last as Rainbow Peak took it up with Court Minstrel in tow.
The latter gained the upper hand on the run-in and scored by a length and a quarter, with Rainbow Peak second, Glen Beg third and Nesterenko back in fourth.
The disappointment of the race was the heavily supported Katgary, who didn't build on his unlucky Fred Winter second and trailed home well held.
"He's done that very well and this is definitely his time of year," said Williams.
"I gave him a nice break after his last run as he goes very well fresh and also goes well on the ground.
"This wasn't my idea as I wanted to go to Scotland next week but the owners wanted to come here instead. I was dead against him running off top-weight here but I'm glad I listened to them!"
The trainer was full of praise for the winning jockey's fine ride but expected nothing less from the rider, saying: "Adam's given him a lovely ride but he's about to lose his claim at the end of this month so he should be riding well against these more inexperienced riders. He's got a bit of class about him."
Wedge was delighted with the way his mount travelled throughout the race and felt the quick pace suited.
"He has to have a quick pace and, even today, he was still trying to do too much too early.
"I love this horse though and he's been very good to me. The good jump at the last sealed it and, even though the other horse came up close to me, this lad still had enough to get me home."