Diego Du Charmil caused a minor upset in the Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree.
The two-mile Grade One looked relatively uncompetitive on paper, with dual Grade One-winning hurdler Petit Mouchoir setting a high standard following his placed efforts in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown and the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham.
However, the warning signs were there for his supporters before the off, as Henry de Bromhead’s challenger got worked up in the parade ring and was free on the way to the start and that wasted energy may have proved crucial in the result.
Shantou Rock took the six-strong field along for much of the way, with Petit Mouchoir always on his tail.
The 4/5 favourite moved to the front early in the home straight, but the Paul Nicholls-trained Diego Du Charmil (5/1) covered the move under 19-year-old Harry Cobden and kicked two and a half lengths clear of the market leader at the line.
Cobden, who won the Topham Chase over the Grand National fences on Friday, said: “He travelled well and apart from last time, which I think is the only time he’s ever fallen, his jumping really takes him into the race.
“I could fill the horse was with confidence and he pricked his ears going down to the last. He absolutely hacked up.
“He winged the fence and it was ideal.”
Nicholls said: “He would have bolted in at Ascot the other day if he hadn’t fallen as he was doing a half-speed.
“He is just a progressive horse that is fresh. The ground was a big worry, but he is getting stronger.
“He was a progressive horse in the autumn before he had a near fatal injury. He was a millimetre away from having a fatal injury.
“He got over that and then we had to wait. We’ve only minded him because of the ground.
“We were thinking of going for the Grand Annual but the ground went soft, then today was the plan.”
The Ditcheat handler raised the possibility of giving Diego Du Charmil one final outing this season in the Celebration Chase at Sandown – but only if Altior does not run.
He added: “Mark my words, he is a good horse. He just needs to mature a little bit. He has got loads of toe and he jumps well.
“There is a lot to come from him. He has got a load of boot so you wouldn’t want to go further.
“The only thing I might look at is Sandown if Altior didn’t turn up and the ground was quick, but we will see.”
Nicholls was saddling his second Grade One winner in two days following Politologue’s thrilling triumph in Friday’s Melling Chase.
“It is nice to have young horses winning Grade Ones. Politologue should have won this last year, but he made up for that yesterday,” said Nicholls.
De Bromhead did not want to make excuses for the beaten favourite. He said: “He always gets worked up before his races, so I don’t think it was that.
“He’s just been beaten on the day, sadly. It’s disappointing but the winner won well.
“I don’t know if he goes to Punchestown, we’ll just have to see how he is.”