Gordon Elliott’s Ebor winner Dirar, could only finish third as King Olav took the spoils in the conditions race at Kempton on Thursday night.
Dirar, who was rated at least 12lb higher than his nearest rival is among the entries for the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at the Cheltenham next month.
He drifted out to 2-1 (from 7-4) before the off last night and was settled in the middle of the six-runner field. Sahrati set the pace in front and Dirar travelled smoothly for jockey Eddie Ahern as the runners approached the final quarter-mile. Neil Callan then decided to inject a rapid turn of pace into proceedings on the Tony Carroll-trained King Olav and the six-year-old shot clear.
Odds-on favourite Fox Hunt chased the leader but his efforts were to no avail. Dirar looked one-paced in third and narrowly held off the staying on Into Wain.
Ahern said: “There was no pace, but the owners are delighted.”
Bookmakers left the Gordon Elliott-trained Dirar unchanged at between 12-1 and 14-1 for the County Hurdle.