Ernesto has been knocking on the door over hurdles recently and his turn came this evening at Exeter when he broke his duck under Robbie Dunne.

He was wearing cheekpieces for the first time in this maiden hurdle and they probably helped him focus when things got tough after the last.

Robbie had been patient with 6yr old until after the final flight but had to get serious in the last 100 yards to get his mount home by a neck.