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Trainer Mark Pitman was hoping Monsignor would answer the one question that has been niggling him throughout the current campaign: Would the Mister Lord gelding get two and a half miles after proving unbeatable over two?

That particular query was answered in emphatic style as the imposing six-year-old, winner of last year's Festival bumper, simply toyed with his two rivals to land the SpotOn Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Persian War Hurdle) at Uttoxeter.

The 18-length victory over the more than capable Bindaree left Pitman trembling such is the regard in which he holds the Mister Lord gelding.

"To be honest, I'm still shaking," admitted Pitman after greeting the winner.

He now intends aiming Monsignor at next month's Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle at the Festival, a race regular jockey Norman Williamson feels he will be well suited to.

"Norman's convinced he'll stay the two mile five furlong race will be his. He say's he'll stay.

"He only asked him one question today before the third last and he just pinged that one."

Pitman will give Monsignor another outing before Cheltenham. "He'll take in the two and a half mile hurdle at Warwick in two weeks time. He's enjoying himself so why not?"

"Having a horse like this is like getting the winning lottery ticket. And I'm proud of him because I bought him myself at the sales."

Pitman's good mood began with the success of Browjoshy in the Pertemps Recruitment Partnership Trophy Novices' Handicap Chase.

Another in the hands of Williamson, Brownjoshy justified 7-2 favouritism to get the better of outsider Dom Beltrano by three quarters of a length to spark a 5}-1 double.

"He's doing very well after recovering from a pastern injury," said the trainer.

"He stays very well and is doing nothing but improve."

Another trainer and jockey in double winning form were the Paul Nicholls and Joe Tizzard partnership who scored with short-priced favourites Shotgun Willy in the Weatherbys Turf News Novices' Hurdle and Fadalko in the Jenkinsons Novices' Handicap Chase.

"I was tempted to take on Monsignor as I feel he is a two and a half mile horse," said Nicholls of Shotgun Willy.

"But I thought why not go for the win which is infinitely better than finishing second."

Ballet-K led her rivals a merry dance to take the Astaire & Partners Novices' Hurdle by 27 length over Docklands Limo.

Two jockeys picked up bans after the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle won by 20-1 shot Major Adventure by a short-head in a driving finish from the favourite Reverse Charge.

Leading amateur Paul Flynn, third on Springfield Scally, was found guilty of improper riding and was suspended for two days, dates to be notified by the Jockey Club.

Conditional jockey Ollie McPhail was banned for three days (February 14-16 inclusive) for careless riding on the fourth home, McHattie.