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Sir Alex Ferguson was in the winner's enclosure at Doncaster as Empire Levant returned to form with an all-the-way victory.
The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old was a 4/5 favourite on his first appearance since failing to complete a hurdle race at Aintree in late October and was sent straight to the lead by Daryl Jacob.
Largely jumping quickly and accurately in the 32Red Novice Chase, all appeared to be going well for favourite-backers until the grey made a real mess of the fifth fence from home, bringing him right back to the rest of the field.
However, he was good and neat at the remaining four fences in the home straight and found enough for pressure to hold off the determined Speed Steed by two and a quarter lengths.
Empire Levant is owned jointly by Ferguson and Ged Mason and carries the same colours as Grand National contender What A Friend. Ferguson also hopes to run Harry The Viking in the same race.