Even with a 5lb rise in the ratings and facing off against tougher opposition, Francky Du Berlais made a late dash to snatch success on the line in the Clarke Chase at Uttoxeter.
Peter Bowen’s gelding was at a career-high mark for the contest but it didn’t phase him in the slightest as he kept on strongly to win by a nose.
The gamble of the day appeared in the form of Nicky Henderson’s Pistol Whipped, who was backed into favouritism at odds of 5/1, but he was the unfortunate loser on this occasion as he finished second to Francky Du Berlais’ last-gasp charge.
Captain Tommy returned to form under new trainer David Bridgwater, as he followed up his Staffordshire Plate victory with a respectable third here.
Topham Chase runner-up Pink Eyed Pedro drifted in the market late on, but he produced another big performance for David Brace, staying on well to finish fourth at odds of 33/1.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Topofthecotswold put his Sefton Novices’ Hurdle fall behind him with a creditable effort at the Staffordshire course, claiming fifth with Neil Mulholland’s Exelerator Express finishing a neck behind in sixth.
Betway Bowl contender Militarian made a few jumping mistakes but made up some late ground to finish ninth, while Cheltenham Festival runners Really Super and Nietzsche finished 12th and 13th.