Porticello proved far too good for his rivals in a dramatic renewal of the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.
Arriving as the highest-rated horse in the race, Gary Moore’s three-year-old stayed clear of congestion down the back as favourite Forever Blessed got into trouble.
The Harry Fry-trained horse initially survived a major stumble after bumping into front-runner Skycutter, leaving Sean Bowen unbalanced but unscathed before later pulling up his mount.
Strong-travelling Porticello was delivered through the middle by rider Jamie Moore and went well clear of the field to run out an eight-and-a-half length winner.
It is a first Grade One success over hurdles for trainer Moore.
Jockey Moore, son of trainer Gary, told Sky Sports Racing: “Poor old Sean [Bowen] got wiped out down the back straight but I got a nice position and had a smooth run round.
“When he hit the front he was having a look around. I think he was probably looking for another hurdle.
“I think he’s going to be better when he’s five years old. He’s a chaser.
“A lot of credit to this horse and Dad because I wasn’t mad keen on riding him today. He’s a lovely big horse and I thought we could mind him a bit this year.
“We’ve won a Grade One now so we’ll all enjoy that.”
Last year’s Welsh National-winning combination – Evan Williams and Adam Wedge – warmed up for this year’s renewal with victory through Golden Whisky in the Watch Racing Online Free With Coral Handicap Chase, staying on strongly to beat When You’re Ready and Cut The Mustard.
In the opening race on Welsh National day, Nothin To Ask got off the mark for the first time in his sixth start for trainer Fergal O’Brien, beating Paul Nicholls’ Chavez and the Tom George-trained Buck’s Boggle.