Lac Fontana follows up
Lac Fontana benefited from a typically power-packed Tony McCoy ride to clinch the Pertemps Network Mersey Novices' Hurdle.
The Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old was the 9-2 favourite for the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One, stepping up in class and trip following a similarly determined display in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
With the champion jockey taking over in the saddle from the sidelined Daryl Jacob, Lac Fontana travelled powerfully but looked to have his work cut out when Splash Of Ginge committed at the top of the home straight.
Dell' Arca and Wilde Blue Yonder were both in the mix, but it turned into a straight shootout after the final flight, with Lac Fontana eventually wearing down Splash Of Ginge to take the prize by a length and a half.
Nicholls said: "He stayed very well at Cheltenham so we thought we'd go two and a half miles on this ground.
"He's tough. He made it hard for himself by missing the last two hurdles but he stayed on a little bit.
"He could end up being a good staying hurdler looking at him, he stays really well.
"It will be interesting next year."