Hazy registers clear success
Masterful Act failed to complete leg one of what would have been a completely unheard-of double in a jumpers' bumper at Southwell.
Trainer Alan McCabe was considering aiming his six-time Fibresand winner towards an event at Belmont in June before a possible tilt at the Breeders' Cup Marathon.
All seemed to be going smoothly for the 2/7 favourite and Jason Maguire turning for home in the two-mile affair but he struggled to shake off Charlie Longsdon's useful hurdler Hazy Tom (3/1), who came three and a half lengths clear despite Masterful Act being switched wide for another challenge.
Winning jockey Charlie Deutsch said: "I didn't want to let (Masterful Act) get a breather as my horse stays quite well. He hit a bit of a flat spot turning into the bend but I was able to kick on."
Another capable hurdler, Any Given Day, had a confidence-boosting outing under Maguire as he strolled to a 15-length victory.
Donald McCain's grey ran at Graded level over the smaller obstacles but had not been seen since a brief stint novice chasing early last summer.
Sent off at 7/2, Any Given Day skipped right away from the 8-13 favourite Dolatulo, who may be heading for the Martin Pipe conditional jockeys' event at Cheltenham.
"I was aware of the favourite, I didn't want to give him a freebie, and he made it a good gallop," said Maguire. "In fairness to him, he quickened right away."
There was no such good fortune for another of McCain's better horses returning from a layoff, when former Grade One juvenile hurdle winner Hollow Tree finished a long way behind 5/4 favourite Gogeo in his jumpers' bumper.
The event was the second success in a row on the day for Paddy Brennan and trainer Alan Swinbank, and the seven-year-old had taken a Flat handicap on the Fibresand late last month.
Brennan had earlier helped Mitchell's Way (4/1) draw past Paul Nicholls' 11/10 favourite Sin Bin.
"He did it well, he was a bit free but he filled up and won nicely," said Brennan.
Tom Siddall struck on his mother Lynn's 50/1 chance Direct Approach, who had been pulled-up on his three previous hurdle outings.
"It sounds stupid but it's not a massive surprise as he's got loads of ability," the jockey told At The Races. "He's had serious back problems but he has always had an engine."
Nicholls' newcomer Great Try (3/1) was a facile winner in the Trevor Hemmings colours in the concluding National Hunt Flat Race.