Epatante impressed when making a winning seasonal debut in a dramatic renewal of the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Last season’s Champion Hurdle heroine swept to victory over Sceau Royal, taking trainer Nicky Henderson’s record tally in the race to six.
However, chaos reigned in the early stages of the Grade One contest, thanks to the antics of Not So Sleepy.
Hughie Morrison’s enigmatic performer led from the start, but was not keen on co-operating and deposited jockey Paddy Brennan on the jumping side of the first hurdle.
If that was not enough, he ran loose and went to avoid the second flight and, in doing so, took Silver Streak out of the contest.
That left Sceau Royal at the front of the four remaining horses and Alan King’s charge led to the final flight, but Aidan Coleman was sitting pretty on Epatante.
The 8-11 favourite cleared the last and soared past Sceau Royal on the run to the line to win by four and a quarter lengths.
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