Aucunrisque made virtually all to graduate to Grade Two glory in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.
All eyes were on Shallwehaveonemore after his wide-margin Sandown win and the Gary Moore-trained runner was sent off the 6-4 favorite under the handler’s son, Josh.
He was happy to settle in fourth as Tom Cannon set the gallop on Aucunrisque (3-1) and Shallwehaveonemore looked to be in the perfect position turning for home.
However, a couple of novicey jumping errors at the final two flights cost the market leader valuable momentum, handing the initiative to Aucunrisque, who proved incredibly game in responding to Cannon’s urgings.
He galloped on strongly after the last to hold the challenge of Shallwehaveonemore by a length, with 40-1 shot Galore Desassences finishing a further length and three-quarters adrift.
Aucunrisque was completing a hat-trick of victories for coach Chris Gordon and Unibet chopped his prize to 10-1 from 20s for the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
“It’s so lovely. Brilliant. I’m very happy. He’s done it the hard way – he’s gone up there in front and is a very hardy horse. He’s just kept on picking up,” Gordon said.
“Sure, we could have gone for a tougher handicap, but he’s going to be in tough handicaps all his life probably. We just thought, as a novice, he is tough and that is part of it.
“He’s won a pretty good little handicap hurdle before and a lot of novices haven’t done that and I thought he was a real warrior there today and stuck his head out all the way to the line.
“We just thought we’d keep it simple. I’m a simple persona, so we try to keep the horses’ tactics nice and simple, bowl along nice and handy and just make use of a decent gallop.
“I did have the Imperial Cup in mind instead of coming here, but while I love Sandown, when it rains, I would go there with no race to go to, I’m 90 percent sure.
“So, he is in the County Hurdle, but I think maybe he will go to Aintree. We’ll see. I can not see any reason why he will not go for the Grade One, but I have not had a drink in February and my judgment is not great!
“I do not think this boy is big enough to jump a fence, so hurdling will be his game.”