Wayward Prince put thoughts of retirement on hold when rolling back the years to spring a 25-1 surprise in the BetBright Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster.
Owner-trainer Hilary Parrott wanted to close the 11-year-old’s career following a few poor performances, but she returned from a holiday to find a rejuvenated chaser.
Winner of a Grade One hurdle back in 2010, Wayward Prince had been highly tried in chase company, including when second to Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Silvinico Conti, but he had lost his way.
Last successful at Aintree in 2012, he was racing off a mark of 124, as opposed to his career-high rating of 155, and made the most of the opportunity.
He travelled well throughout in the hands of Robbie Dunne, sitting on the heels of 9-2 joint favourite Streams Of Whiskey until that one smashed through the fifth-last to leave Wayward Prince to go on and comfortably land the spoils by seven lengths.
Drop Out Joe was second, with Night In Milan third. Theatre Queen was fourth after being left 25 lengths at the start.
“He’s been working very well at home but we were going to retire him after his last run because he’d had three dismal runs,” said Parrott.
“I decided I would retire him. I went away for a week and my head girl said we shouldn’t retire him as he was absolutely flying, so I thought we’d give him a chance.
“We’ll keep him going and I suppose he’ll run again this season somewhere.
“Robbie suggested the Scottish National. We’ll have to see how he is at home first.”
Dunne was banned for six days (March 14-19) for weighing in 2lb lighter than he weighed out. It was his second offence in 12 months.
Ian Williams, who trained Wayward Prince until the 2012-13 season, got on the scoresheet with Bobcatbilly (4-1), who held Wings Of Smoke by a length and a quarter in the Saint Gobain Weber Handicap Chase under 5lb claimer Rob McCarth.
It was mission accomplished for connections as Balmusette (4-1) earned some precious Listed black type by taking the BetBright Cheltenham Festival Fund Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
The six-year-old, trained by Keith Reveley, sprinted 10 lengths clear of A Doll In Milan.
* Miniskirt seems to save her best for the Southwell Fibresand surface, so a return to the Nottinghamshire venue for the Ladbrokes Handicap on Tuesday can reap rich rewards.
The four-year-old is twice a winner over a mile at the track and while she has shown glimpses of ability at other courses, she has really shone at Southwell.
She shed her maiden tag when powering home by eight lengths in what was admittedly only an average heat back in December but she was all at sea next time at Wolverhampton, finishing down the field.
Returned to Southwell by Rae Guest, Miniskirt put her best foot forward as she bolted home by nine lengths, and there was much to admire about her businesslike attitude. She was under pressure a fair way out when only third at Chelmsford most recently but Miniskirt’s favourite surface should help her.
Tips - Exeter: 2.30 There Is No Point, 3.00 Bravo Bravo, 3.30 Merlin’s Wish, 4.00 Makadamia, 4.30 Blown Cover, 5.00 Arrayan.
Newcastle: 2.20 Willie Hall, 2.50 Relic Rock, 3.20 Categorical, 3.50 Captain Sharpe, 4.20 Ubaltique, 4.50 Down The Line.
Southwell: 2.10 Yasir, 2.40 Amazing Blue Sky, 3.10 MINISKIRT (NAP), 3.40 Stun Gun, 4.10 Electric Qatar, 4.40 Very First Blade.
Double: Miniskirt and Merlin’s Wish.