David Pipe put the seal on a fine Cheltenham Festival at Uttoxeter on Saturday by securing a fourth successive Betfred Midlands Grand National with Goulanes.
Not content with having claimed three winners at the premier jumps meeting, the Pond House handler scooped the marathon contest with the 13-2 favourite.
After wins for Minella Four Star, Master Overseer and Big Occasion in the last three years, Pipe probably felt lightning could not strike for a fourth time.
However, Richard Johnson, on board instead of Tom Scudamore who was switched to Kempton at the 11th hour, never looked in any danger.
A decent novice last term, he ran behind Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere in the RSA Chase 12 months ago, he had shown little in two starts this season. With a tongue-tie on for the first time, though, Goulanes stayed on stronger than Alpha Victor for the small yard of Will Kinsey in second, two and a half lengths back.
West End Rocker made a bold bid from the front and hung on to third with Summery Justice in fourth.
Top weight Harry Topper made an early blunder and was beaten a long way out.
Goulanes is owned by Roger Brookhouse, who saw his colours carried to victory by the Pipe-trained Western Warhorse in the Arkle at Cheltenham and Baltimore Rock in the Imperial Cup at Sandown seven days ago..
Brookhouse said: “The ground was drying up at Cheltenham so we decided to come here. It’s been some week and this is a superb effort by David. This horse made a noise when he ran in the Welsh National so we took him home and gave him a small wind operation. “He’s always been a good horse. I’m not sure what well do with him next. He does need some give in the ground and we shall bear that in mind.”
It was not quite like having a winner at the Festival but trainers Neil Mulholland and Jonjo O’Neill directed praise towards Kempton as Carole’s Destrier and Lost Legend claimed the newly conceived Cheltenham consolation races.
It was not of huge importance to O’Neill that Lost Legend (9-1) qualified for the Kempton Park Betdaq Silver Bowl by virtue of missing the cut for the handicap chases last week as he saddled three winners during the meeting anyway.
Mulholland had long given up hope of Carole’s Destrier sneaking into the handicap hurdles and hopes a narrow victory in the Kempton Park Betdaq Silver Plate will give his horse a better foothold for Cheltenham 2015.
The 14-1 chance had been successful in a heavy-ground maiden at Huntingdon in January before just qualifying for the Pertemps Final at Exeter but he made hard work of short-heading Marcilhac for the £35,000 prize.