Royal Vacation made the most of his jumping as Might Bite, set for a runaway win, crashed out at the last in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (In Memory of Nigel Clark) at Kempton Park.
At the off it was Minella Daddy on the inside from Might Bite and Amore Alato, these three almost racing in a line and setting a strong early tempo.
With two fences negotiated, the front three were several lengths clear of Royal Vacation and Present Man, but the pace started to ease off with Amore Alato leading Might Bite.
Present Man was the first to make a serious mistake, but Jack Sherwood maintained the partnership, however, Caracci Apache was pulled up before the field turned into the home straight for the first time.
Amore Alato and Might Bite continued to vie for the lead, with a gap back to Present Man and Royal Vacation, with Minella Daddy next and then Virgilio and Frodon, as the field headed out with a circuit to race.
Might Bite went back on racing down the back straight from Amore Alato, with Royal Vacation third and Frodon starting to move into contention, followed by Present Man.
Amore Alato started to back pedal as Might Bite poured it on and took the fourth last with a commanding lead over Royal Vacation, who was under pressure, while Frodon was also feeling the pace.
Might Bite turned into the home straight and took the third last clear of Royal Vacation and Frodon. He was close in to the second last, but powered on to the last, with the race his for the taking and a lead of perhaps 15 lengths.
However, he dived horribly at the last fence, crashing to the ground and leaving Royal Vacation a long way clear of Frodon.
Royal Vacation and Paddy Brennan safely negotiated the final fence, but Frodaon did not, taking a tired tumble.
So the Colin Tizzard trained Royal Vacation, racing in the colours of Cue Card, due to run in the King George an hour or so later, sauntered to a fortunate and uncontested win.
The stragglers picked up valuable place money, with Virgilio taking second ahead of Amore Alato and Present Man.
Brennan said: “I’d have accepted being second. His experience told early because they went extremely quick.
“One thing Colin said to me was to be positive. It some performance to win that race.
“I think it was the trip more than the blinkers that helped him.”
Owner Jean Bishop said: “We thought he’d run well. I’m sorry about the one that fell, but that’s what happens. He’d have been a good second anyway.”
Henderson said of Might Bite: “He seems OK. Daryl is as well. His pride’s a little dented, but he’ll be fine.”