Caroline Keevil landed the biggest success of her training career as Bally Legend stayed on relentlessly to produce a 28-1 shock in the BetBright Chase at Kempton.
Dorset-based Keevil became just the third woman to saddle the winner of the £100,000 handicap.
Ian Popham’s mount was being niggled a fair way out but always managed to stay in it and swept to the front at the final fence.
The well-fancied Bury Parade had kept going under pressure but could never get on terms and ended up a length and a quarter in arrears at the line, with front-running favourite Tour Des Champs a gallant third.
Popham, who has suffered with injuries, said: “Martin Keighley has always been good to me, and I rode for Caroline when I was 16 in point-to-points – she has stuck with me the whole way and I’m very grateful.”
Keevil said: “He loves it at Kempton, and the runner-up was carrying top weight so he had a big advantage. As a small trainer, you have some highs and a lot of lows, but whenever I am at my lowest ebb Bally Legend pulls it out of the bag.
“He is in the Byrne Group Plate, but today was the big plan and it might be a bit greedy going again at Cheltenham.”
Meanwhile, at Lingfield, Grandeur made a winning return to the UK when completing a double for Ryan Moore in the coral.co.uk Winter Derby Trial Stakes.
Jeremy Noseda’s charge has spent time in America in the past and was last seen finishing down the field in a Sha Tin Grade One, but that did not stop supporters backing him into 4-5 favouritism. Settled just off the principals by Moore, the grey flashed into the lead over a furlong from home and though Modernstone was finishing fast at the finish, Grandeur still had three-quarters of a length in hand at the line.
The Ramblin Kid paid a compliment to Red Sherlock when springing a minor shock in the Betfred Goals Galore Novices’ Hurdle at Newcastle. Beaten by six lengths by the Neptune second-favourite at Wetherby, he may have been flattered there but looked to have benefited enormously for the initial experience over timber.
Venetia Williams’ Panama Petrus was sent off favourite but jumped sloppily while Jonjo O’Neill’s Ivy Gate appeared to have his stamina stretched, allowing Jason Maguire on Micky Hammond’s 14-1 chance to come home seven lengths clear.
“Potentially he’s very exciting and he’s going to make a lovely chaser,” said Hammond.