Flying Angel showed plenty of fighting spirit to take his form to new heights and land the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree.
Sixth in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival when virtually brought to a halt by a faller six out, the six-year-old bounced back to register his third win over fences and first at Grade One level.
Racing prominently throughout the two-and-a-half-mile contest, the 5-1 shot pressed on under Noel Fehily into a clear advantage past the weakening Frodon on the run to four out.
Despite being momentarily headed by Arkle runner-up Cloudy Dream over the last, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding rallied to good effect to get back up and take victory by a length.
The winner was introduced at 25-1 for next year’s Ryanair Chase by Paddy Power.
Twiston-Davies said: “He’s very tough, he jumped well and did everything right.
“What would have happened at Cheltenham when he was so unlucky?
“All ground comes alike to him, it’s wonderful.”
Fehily said: “He toughed it out well. When Brian Hughes came looming up to me between the last two I thought I was in a little bit of trouble, but I knew my fellow wouldn’t stop as he’s so tough.
“I thought I was going OK at Cheltenham when he was badly hampered and I just nursed him home, I felt he’d have finished close that day - I’m not sure the lads believed me, but he’s proven it today.
“He’s a typical Nigel Twiston-Davies horse, he’s fit, he stays, he jumps and he’s tough so it’s wise to make good use of him.”
Defi Du Seuil, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Barry Geraghty, won the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree, augmenting the youngster’s clear-cut win in the Triumph at the Cheltenham Festival.