GUITAR Pete struck the right note to secure a double for trainer Nicky Richards and conditional jockey Ryan Day at Wetherby.
The grey ended a frustrating run of four second places to score a tidy victory off bottom weight in the bet365 Handicap Chase on day one of the flagship Charlie Hall Chase meeting.
Splash of Ginge made the early running, but at the business end the Listed heat turned into a duel between Guitar Pete and Sametegal, who was returning after a long absence.
The former’s race fitness ultimately proved decisive as he pulled seven lengths clear on the run to the line under Day, who claims 3lb.
Richards said: “He’s been running very consistently all summer, so he deserved that.
“We’ll keep him going. He lives in the paddock a bit, so as long as I can get him out in the field and the weather stays decent we’ll do that.”
Earlier, On A Promise initiated the brace when getting on top on the run-in to foil the favourite Alfie’s Choice in the novices handicap hurder.
“That was grand. He’s a big, weak horse. He had a good summer and he’s strengthened up well,” said the Greystoke handler whose late father Gordon trained One Man to win the Charlie Hall Chase 20 years ago.
“I’ll take my time. He’s a chaser for the future – I won’t be in a great rush with him.”
Meanwhile, Malaya had little difficulty landing the odds in the Arkle Finance Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle.
Sam Twiston-Davies enjoyed a nice lead from the start and the Paul Nicholls-trained filly kept on strongly to keep City Dreamer at bay by four lengths.
Robbie Power has challenged Our Duke to confirm himself a genuine Gold Cup contender on his seasonal reappearance in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.
Jessica Harrington’s charge was successful in three of his four starts as a novice over fences last season and was a spectacular winner of the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
The seven-year-old is a leading contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race Harrington and Power combined to win with Sizing John last season, and his credentials will be given an early test in County Antrim.
“Sizing John is the Gold Cup winner and Our Duke has to step up to that level. At the end of the day he’s won a Grade One novice chase and a handicap,” said the veteran jockey.
“He has to make the step to prove that he’s a genuine Gold Cup contender. There is a lot of water to pass under the bridge between now and next March. Hopefully Our Duke will make that progression.”
Power believes Our Duke is fit enough to do himself justice, but fears Road To Respect who has already had a run this autumn.