Leighton Aspell is on course to smash his previous best tally of winners and edged one closer thanks to the victory of Spyder in the Towcester Racecourse New Greyhound Track Development Novices' Hurdle.
Aspell rode 59 winners in 2002-03, and Spyder's win took him to 58 for the current campaign - which so nearly included a Cheltenham Festival triumph.
Oliver Sherwood's Deputy Dan was clear approaching the final flight in the Albert Bartlett only to be caught by Very Wood, a race that is still painful to the jockey.
"I thought we'd done enough but I could feel him emptying 100 yards before the last. I was gutted. He's going to be some horse for the future, though, and I think Oliver is favouring Punchestown rather than Aintree," Aspell told At The Races.
Spyder brought a welcome change of fortune for trainer Lucy Wadham, who took her stable star Baby Shine over to Ireland for a Graded race last week only to see her fall at the final fence with the race in the bag.
He was sent off at 9/2 having finished second on his hurdling debut at Southwell, form boosted by the third Brave Vic, who won the EBF Final for Gary Moore.
Spyder survived a scare at the first flight when he jumped markedly to his left but he outstayed Such A Legend to win by two and a quarter lengths.
"He was a little keen on the run to the first and saw it late," said Aspell.
"His jumping improved through the race after that. He was a bit outpaced four from home but the race changed two out and he stayed on well.
"Hopefully jumping will make a man of him."
Cosway Spirit (9/4 favourite) was an easy winner of the Paul Hardick Memorial Handicap Chase for fledgling trainer Ben Pauling and jockey David Bass.
Pauling learned the ropes when assisting Nicky Henderson so could hardly have had a better tutor.
"He's a brilliant ride, he travelled great and jumped well, he's still well handicapped," said Bass.
"He's got so much scope, he's the sort I love to ride, you just give him a squeeze and up he comes.
"Ben is doing very well, he's been good to his word as he said I'd ride most of them and I have."
Alan King's Bull And Bush (4/1 favourite) just had too much speed for Nick Gifford's Cove in the Mick & Sheila 50th Wedding Anniversary Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
Both were running in their first handicap and pulled well clear of the rest but despite a quicker jump at the last, Cove went down by three-quarters of a length.
Henry Oliver is in the middle of a purple patch and his Take The Crown (4/5 favourite) followed up a recent win at Chepstow in the Happy 90th Birthday Michael Finn Handicap Hurdle.