Captain Brown made amends for his final-flight fall when leading in the same race 12 months ago with a hard-fought success in the Abbey Tool & Gauge Handicap Hurdle at Kelso.
James Moffatt’s charge had tried to make all last year, but came from off the pace this time under Brian Hughes to join Peters Grey at the last. They landed together, but Captain Brown (9-2) went clear close home to win by half a length. The leading pair were 13 lengths ahead of Sky Khan in third.
The Last Samuri (9-2 favourite) also completed unfinished business as he bounced back after exiting at the second-last fence on this course five weeks ago when taking the Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase.
The Donald McCain-trained seven-year-old had been on a hat-trick when unseating his rider on his previous outing, but returned to winning ways in game fashion, asserting his superiority over Harry the Viking on the run-in to score by two and three-quarter lengths. Sharney Sike was third, seven lengths away.
McCain said: “He’s done it really well. I had him in the four-miler at Cheltenham, but we decided to sit tight and wait for this. We might have to concentrate on a race up at Ayr now. There’s a novice handicap there and he’ll get an entry in the Scottish National as well.”
Milansbar (10-1) edged out the 3-1 favourite, Racing Europe, in a thrilling finish to the Thakeham Handicap Hurdle. Jockey Trevor Whelan brought Neil King’s charge towards the centre to challenge and get up in the dying strides to win by a head.
At Newbury, Carruthers (8-1) dug deep to repel all challengers and land a gutsy success in the Ultima Business Solutions Silver Jubilee Handicap Chase.
Minutes earlier his Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning half-brother, Coneygree, who will not race again this season, had paraded at the track, but the 12-year-old was not going to be overshadowed by his younger sibling, the veteran winning by a neck from Amigo.