KERRY Lee trained nine-year-old Russe Blanc won the feature Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick Racecourse on Saturday afternoon in front of a bumper crowd.
There was a moment of concern for jockey Charlie Poste when the saddle appeared the slip just before three fences from the finish at the end of the backstraight.
Poste sat well and fended off a strong challenge from Midnight Prayer to earn Lee a second major success in a week after Mountanious won the Welsh National just a week ago.
Many fancied runners failed to turn up as heavily supported favourite Sego Success fell at the second fence.
Rigadin De Beauchene fell at eight out – impeding Vivaldi Collenges and forcing Jamie Bargary aboard Foxbridge to unseat.
Only five finished the race meaning two thirds of the field either fell or was pulled up.
Elsewhere local trainer Dan Skelton had no luck in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle as Ireland’s Thomas Hobson just managed to fend off a late challenge from stablemate Open Eagle.
Trained by Willie Mullins, who brought three horses over from his Irish base in County Carlow, Thomas Hobson entered the straight on the bridle and ten lengths clear – though that lead was quickly reduced.
The six-year-old clung on to win by two and a half lengths – Dan Skelton’s Born Survivor, who started 6/4 favourite, finished fourth.