PAUL CARBERRY and Monbeg Dude foiled a Coral Welsh National plunge on Teaforthree to provide the Scudamore family with its latest taste of victory in a race that has had their name indelibly stamped on it.
The eight-year-old gave fledgling trainer Michael Scudamore not only his first success in the stamina-sapping contest but also his biggest career triumph. Michael's grandfather, also Michael, was successful in the 1957 running, while his father Peter rattled off four wins in his days as stable jockey to Martin Pipe.
Ridden with poker-cool confidence by Carberry, Monbeg Dude was waited with and as Teaforthree and Triggerman fought it out, looked like he could come and take control at his pilot's wish.
Carberry exuded remarkable restraint to wait until the last before asking his mount to put the race to bed, but the winner then launched himself at the fence half a stride early, causing his rider to hang on to the buckle end of the rein.
However, the mistake did little to impair the momentum of the winner, which although idling in front kept going to repeal McCoy on the 11/4 favourite by half a length.
"When I pulled him out in the straight I knew I had a good chance," said Carberry. "He's a bit lairy, and I didn't want to hit the front too soon. I haven't had the opportunity to win this so it was about time I took it. This is great."
Two of Monbeg Dude's owners have a rugby attachment in Nicky Robinson (Wasps) and James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester and England).
Elsewhere, Melodic Rendezvous provided Jeremy Scott and his jockey Nick Scholfield with their first Grade One success together in the 32Red Novices' Hurdle at Sandown.
While this two-mile event, better known as the Tolworth, is an obvious pointer towards the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, it was interesting to hear Scott highlight his unbeaten Champion Bumper contender Empiracle as an equally gilt-edged prospect.
A fascinatingly open renewal boiled down to just two horses, Melodic Rendezvous (7/2) pulling four-and-a-half lengths clear of Pendra on the run-in.
At home, Paul Townend timed it to perfection to get Blackstairmountain back to winning ways in the McCarthy Insurance Hurdle at Cork.
A Grade One winner over timber as a novice, he also reached the same heights over fences and Willie Mullins is now eyeing up a race in Japan.
"We're going to aim him at the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan in April," said Mullins, who had a treble at the venue.
An almighty touch was landed by Sabrina Harty's winner on the day, Dalasiri, which was backed from a morning price of 33/1 into just 9/2 on-course.