Henderson one-two at Sandown
A review of the rest of the action from Sandown as Brain Power led home a one-two for Nicky Henderson.
Sam Twiston-Davies celebrated his first winner back since returning from a spleen injury after leading home a one-two for trainer Nicky Henderson aboard Brain Power in the Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle.
Having moved into the two-mile Listed race well, the 9/2 winner found plenty when called on for a maximum effort to get the better of five-year-old's stablemate Consul De Thaix by three-quarters of a length.
Twiston Davies said: "It was good fun. It is nice to be back. It just takes time to get back into it. It is nice to come here on my first Saturday and it is nice to have a winner."
Henderson added on the winner: "He is getting there. Brains would not be the first name that would come into my head for him. He has got a lot of ability, it is now getting him into the right groove.
"He is a good handicap hurdler at this stage of life."
Both the first and second were cut in the betting for the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on December 17, with Sky Bet making them their 8/1 joint favourites.
Sky Bet's Michael Shinners said: "Brain Power travelled extremely well throughout the race and has halved in price for the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle after his impressive performance. He is now our 8/1 joint favourite with today's runner up Consul De Thaix."
Conditional rider Jack Sherwood kept Paul Nicholls' 10-year-old close to the pace set mainly by Loose Chips.
The race was wide open going to the last but Rocky Creek would not be denied as he held Doing Fine's late challenge by a neck with Morney Wing third.
Nicholls said: "We just did a few different things since his last run as he just hadn't been doing anything.
"Today he jumped jumped beautifully, travelled and quickened and showed a bit of his old sparkle.
"The idea was to come back for a £100,000 veterans' race here in January and on that the target at the end of the season would be the bet365 (Gold Cup)."
Tom Humphries enjoyed a notable success after making his first ride at Sandown a winning one in steering Arctic Gold to glory in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
The 23-year-old showed the calmness of a much more experienced rider to capture the extended two-mile-seven event and get the five-year-old off the mark for the campaign.
After moving on between the final two flights the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 11/4 shot passed the post a length and three-quarter lengths clear of Some Kinda Lama.
Humphries said: "To have a ride on Tingle Creek day and having a winner in front of a big crowd is what you dream about growing up. It is absolutely brilliant.
"He travelled nicely the whole way round and I knew I had to hold on to him as long as I could, as you have to stay the three miles in soft here.
"He got a little bit tired, but I still can't believe it has happened."
Dashing Oscar put his previous experience to good use when defying a penalty in the Barry Rawlings "What A Year" "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle at Sandown.
After making a winning debut on his seasonal return at Bangor, the six-year-old showed the penny is starting to drop with win number two over hurdles.
Although headed for a while after the third in the two-mile prize by favourite Cruiseaweigh, who was pulled up before two out, the 7/2 chance found enough to repel Crystal Lad by a neck.
Trainer Harry Fry said: "He (Noel Fehily) was brilliant there. He dictated it from the front and made his experience count.
"To be fair the horse has stepped up and knuckled down when he needed to and has seen it out well.
"It is the first time we have been able to get back-to-back runs into him and hopefully we can keep building from here."
Tullow Tonic showed no signs of her victory at Leicester on Thursday leaving any side effects after completing a quickfire hat-trick with victory in the two-and-a-half-mile mezzanine7.com Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
Having been held up behind the early pace, the 7/2 favourite moved through in almost effortless fashion under Tom O'Brien to hit the front full of running at the second last, before holding Midnight Sapphire by a head.
Trainer Tom Weston said: "She seemed fine after Leicester, so I put a speculative entry in for her as she was well out the handicap when I entered her. I thought we would have a crack while the horse is in good order.
"I entered her this morning for a hurdle at Doncaster on Friday and that's over three miles.
"It was not a plan to rattle of three quickly, but after she won at Towcester we've just cracked on with it."
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