Soverign is a surprise winner at Southwell
Woolfall Soverign was a slightly surprising winner of the Daily Price Boosts At Unibet Conditions Stakes at Southwell.
The first Fast Track Qualifier for All Weather Championships Finals Day run on the fibresand circuit, it looked to be going with the formbook as Dungannon cruised to the front under Thomas Brown.
However, George Margarson's nine-year-old was a persistent challenger on the outside and refused to buckle in the hands of Barry McHugh.
In the end, the winning margin was a head and a trip to Lingfield on Good Friday now awaits the winner.
McHugh said: "He is a grand horse and got a bump which probably helped me - setting him alight. He has done it well in the end.
"I thought if I could get to Dungannon, my horse would just keep going. Fair play to George (Margarson), this horse is a nine-year-old and he has done well to keep him going."
Margarson revealed his charge suffered with a tendon problem last year but thinks Woolfall Sovereign is over his issues now and is looking forward to Finals Day.
He said: "He had a similar suspensory injury to Young Mick and I learned from that.
"Woolfall Sovereign's legs have been really good since and he has got his confidence back.
"He does not have many miles on the clock and has won twice at six furlongs so we will be going for the final.
"I am the major shareholder in Woolfall Sovereign now and there are four others involved."
Meanwhile, Grade One-winning hurdler Whisper was turned over at odds of 2-5 on his chasing debut at Exeter.
Also successful in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March, Whisper was a hot favourite to win the Bathwick Tyres Beginners' Chase, despite racing over a trip short of his best.
He had plenty in hand on the official figures and jumped well enough throughout, but the Paul Nicholls-trained Ceasar Milan always seemed to be travelling that much better at the head of affairs for Nick Scholfield.
Nico De Boinville moved closer on Whisper turning into the straight, but he could never quite get on terms and Ceasar Milan (4-1) went on to win by three and a quarter lengths.
It brought up a double on the day for Scholfield, who had earlier won on Harry Fry's Assam Black.