Prolific Ace comes up trumps
Down Ace continued her superb winning run by securing Listed honours at Taunton.
The Fergal O'Brien-trained bargain buy has now won six races on the spin, and relished the step up in trip for the Season's Greetings From totepool Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
As I Am typically made all of the running, but she was overtaken by Blue Buttons and Down Ace approaching the final flight.
An exciting tussle ensued, but the Dougie Costello-ridden winner had a little more to give at the death and held on by a neck.
O'Brien said of the 7/2 chance: "She's a very tough mare. She surprised us when she won at Cheltenham first time out - that showed us what a good mare she is.
"She's got such a good attitude and takes her race very well. She's been a great flagship for the yard. We'll have a chat and see where we go with her now."
Costello said: "Even though she wouldn't overly enjoy this ground, she is tough."
Horizontal Speed (11/10 favourite) made a richly deserved return to the winner's enclosure after the totequadpot Four Places In Four Races Novices' Hurdle.
Philip Hobbs' inmate has not yet finished outside the first two in five starts over hurdles and did well from the head of affairs to readily fend off Foggy's Wall by four and a half lengths.
Jockey Richard Johnson said: "He's very straightforward. In every run over hurdles he's been in the first two. No-one wanted to make it (the running) so we thought we'd let him enjoy himself. It's nice to get his head in front."
Horizontal Speed was the second leg of a double for Hobbs, whose Milosam brought up the hat-trick in the totepool Mobile Novices' Handicap Chase.
With all the fences in the back straight having been dolled off due to the low sun, staying prowess on the Flat became a key asset.
Tom O'Brien's companion (6/4 favourite) had no issues on that front as he defeated Possibly Flora by a length and a quarter.
Hobbs said: "He stayed very well and it ended up being a three-mile Flat race."
O'Brien added: "My lad just got a bit idle. He wasn't doing a stroke on that ground. It didn't suit me without the fences, but hopefully he can keep going."
The Happy Warrior (10/1) earlier showed plenty of fight to claim the totejackpot Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, while Theatrical Star (7/2) responded positively following a Newbury no-show in the Steve Logan Memorial Handicap Chase.
The latter's trainer, Colin Tizzard, told At The Races: "He didn't have it all his own way but he stayed well."
Residence And Spa (20/1) came from an uncompromising position to take the totepool.com Handicap Hurdle for two-horse trainer Helen Rees and jockey Mark Quinlan.
Sarenice's 10/1 success in the collect totepool Winnings At Betfred Shops Handicap Hurdle was far more clear cut for the Jimmy Frost-Hadden Frost axis.