Always prominent, the Sue Smith-trained grey then showed great resolution and plugged on gamely, in a race won by the Lizzie Kelly-ridden favourite Coo Star Sivola.
Admirably consistent, Danny Cook’s mount, owned by Trevor Hemmings, is unlikely to make the cut for this year’s Grand National.
“I am really pleased with him. I think he jumped really well,” said Bingley-based Smith whose second runner, Wakanda, was pulled up.
“Danny said they quickened away from him. Maybe he should have made more use of him but obviously that is up to Danny when he is on board.
“Generally the horse stays a lot further than three miles one and he did keep coming. It was a competitive race and all in all I am really pleased. Possibly the Scottish National might be next.”
Her view was echoed by the aforementioned Hemmings who said: “We will wait and see how the horse comes out of this but we may well have another go at the Scottish National. He ran there last year (seventh) and given another year he would be a horse for the Grand National. I would have to consider that. It was a superb performance today.”
As for the aforementioned Kelly who was riding for her stepfather Nick Williams, the win provided compensation for Tea For Two’s second fence mishap in last year’s Gold Cup. “After last year, I made my peace with never being a Cheltenham Festival winner and now I am. I am shocked and don’t really know what to say for the first time in my life!” she said.