Loulou Nivernais has Aintree on his agenda next month after completing a four-timer in great style in the Come To Guinness St Patrick's Day Handicap Chase at Newcastle yesterday, writes Jack Pickering.
Tom Dreaper had the Brian Ellison-trained gelding jumping well from the outset and, sending him to the front approaching the fourth-last fence, strode away to beat Welcome To Unos by 26 lengths.
Ellison trains Loulou Nivernais for Naughty Diesel Ltd and his daughter Lorraine said: "This horse is class and Tom gets on so well with him - that makes all the difference - and he gave him a great ride.
"We have had him about five months and he has never been out of the first three in six outings for us - he will probably run next at Bangor-On-Dee on March 24 and then go for a three-mile handicap chase at Aintree."
Newcastle's meeting got the go-ahead following a morning inspection but punters probably had mixed feelings after 100-1 chance King Mak won the opening WBX.COM £25 New Account Sign Up "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle. Carrying out trainer Peter Beaumont's instructions, Anthony Ross sent the five-year-old to the front from the outset.
Jumping well, the grey made all the running and was always staying on too strongly for 6-4 favourite Lambrini Legend, who went down by nine lengths.
Beaumont said: "Before the race I would have been happy if he had been in the first 10.
"He had run so badly last time, but he has developed a lot physically and mentally since and we changed the tactics - we felt it would be no use sitting in behind and getting lost."
Sue Smith's decision to switch codes with Flake paid off when the seven-year-old gained his fourth victory from his last five outings in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle.
There were just three left with a chance as they straightened for home with Flake and Stormy Beech disputing the lead over the third and second-last flights, with favourite Culcabock just in behind.
Flake, ridden by good conditional Tjade Collier, took command on the run to the final flight and kept up the gallop to score by two and a half lengths from Culcabock, who snatched second place from Stormy Beech in the closing stages.
Flake's two most recent wins were gained over fences but Smith's husband Harvey said: "When he comes down the ratings over fences he will go back chasing."
In Dream's, with Barry Keniry on board, was another to win as he pleased, showing the way home by 25 lengths from Speedro in the Gosforth Decorating And Building Services Novices' Hurdle.
His trainer George Moore said: "He obviously goes in this ground, and it is a pity his owner is not here."
Cha Cha Cha Dancer landed the Bet Now At WBX.COM Conditional Jockeys' Selling Handicap Hurdle under conditional Dougie Costello.
Winning trainer Alan Swinbank's assistant Bill Haigh, who retained the seven-year-old without a bid, said: "He has had a lot of problems and I am pleased he has won for his owners."