Utopian’s team endured a painful return to Fontwell yesterday.
The five-year-old son of Kapgarde – trained in Findon by Nick Gifford – announced himself as a horse of huge potential when emphatically winning a bumper at the track on his British bow.
He put a disappointing start to life over hurdles behind him last month as he landed a maiden at Ludlow under jockey Tom Cannon.
And despite the ground at Fontwell being quicker than ideal, he was expected to step up on that performance when making his handicap debut in the Exclusive Cheltenham Offers On Totepool Mobile Hurdle yesterday.
But, with amateur rider David Dunsdon back in the saddle, it all unravelled.
Dunsdon, whose family own the French-bred talent, was unable to prevent his mount racing clear of the field early on. And he paid the price, as 9/2-shot Billy Twyford roared past to win.
To heap further misery on Dunsdon, he was hit with a four-day ban for failing to ride Utopian out and consequently losing fourth spot.