A round-up of the early action from Newbury
Last Updated: 22/03/14 4:13pm
Sign Of A Victory: Won the opener
Sign Of A Victory comfortably landed the odds in the Ultima Mark Elliott And Jared Johnston Novices' Hurdle at Newbury.
Barry Geraghty was always going well on the 4-9 favourite on the heels of the leaders as Matripajo set the pace before Huff And Puff tried to take the sting out of the hotpot by going on early in the straight.
However, Geraghty had the move covered on Nicky Henderson's charge and was on top at the final flight, pulling six lengths clear of his nearest rival. Laser Blazer was 16 lengths away in third.
"I possibly could have done with more cover. He was a bit keen at times, but he travelled well and I was never really in any rush," Geraghty told Racing UK.
"I knew he had the gears and he was impressive at Doncaster. He's got a lot of pace and would have a preference for better ground.
"It was a good performance, but the race was run at an ordinary pace earlier which suited my horse. Aidan (Coleman on Huff And Puff) tried to draw it out of me early in the straight, but I always had the gears."
Coleman went one better when steering top-weight Pepite Rose (8-1) to victory in the Ultima's Matt Hudson Handicap Chase.
Leading before the third-last fence, the Venetia Williams-trained mare stormed home by 12 lengths from Tony Star with Bally Legend a further 12 lengths back in third.
"It's great for this mare to get her head in front. She had a good novice season a couple of years ago and was really penalised," Coleman said.
"She's as sweet as a nut and I've won seven races on her now. She likes her jumping a little bit too much sometimes, but she's a superstar."
Williams said: "That was absolutely fantastic. I was a bit concerned as she had a nasty fall here last season at the last ditch and she's been jumping fences like everyone is like that one. She's a terrific mare."
Roalco De Farges came from the rear to claim the Ultima - Proud Sponsors of Alan King Racing Handicap Chase.
The 7-2 favourite was given a confident ride by Richard Johnson and scythed his way through the field to jump into the lead at the third-last.
The Philip Hobbs-trained grey skated clear to score by two and three-quarters length from the pace-setting No Secrets. Samingarry was third, three-quarters of a length away.
Johnson said: "He's travelled really nicely today. He was second in the Whitbread behind Tidal Bay two years ago and then had some problems last season.
"To be fair, the owners have let him come back steadily and they have had their reward today. He's done it really well.
"They had a good day with Balthazar King at Cheltenham and hopefully will have another one at Aintree (in the Crabbie's Grand National) in two weeks as well.
"I'd say this horse could go to Sandown again or for the Scottish Grand National. One of those staying chases is probably where he'll go now."