Race fitness and a more direct path over his fences, saw Le Prezien get the better of L’Ami Serge in a fascinating race for the 188Bet Graduation Chase at Exeter today.

Just the three horses lined-up for this race, with the highly regarded L’Ami Serge making his seasonal return.

It was Oscar Sunset who set off in front, but a dreadful blunder soon had him in arrears, as the big two pressed on in driving rain and poor visibility.

However, it was noticeable that L’Ami Serge was jumping markedly to his left throughout, costing him ground as Le Prezien jumped the more tidily for Barry Geraghty.

Turning into the home straight, the race was on in earnest, but L’Ami Serge’s extravagant jumping continued to cost him ground and Le Prezien powered into the lead, jumping the last two fences well and easing away on the flat to record a comfortably 2 ¾ lengths victory, in receipt of four pounds.

The Paul Nicholls trained 5 year old had finished a close second to Charbel on his chasing debut, before getting off the mark in a Cheltenham Grade 2 contest in mid-November.

“He jumped nicely today,” jockey Barry Geraghty told Racing UK. “It came easy for us, I’d say Cheltenham is a stronger test. The runner-up, I wouldn’t like to meet him the next day – we didn’t see him at his best.”