Paul Nicholls praised young jockey Jordan Williams after the 7lb claimer teamed up with Aerial to win the totepool Southern National at Fontwell.
Despite having been off the track for 525 days, the Nicholls-trained 10-year-old thrived in the three-mile-three-furlong handicap chase under an astute ride from Williams.
The 12-1 chance made a noticeable charge with four fences remaining before he was nudged into second place at the second-last.
A good leap at the final fence put Aerial in control as he was ridden out to defeat Fergal Mael Duin by two and a half lengths.
Nicholls said: "It is more about the lad (Williams).
"He has not had many rides and that was his first chase winner.
"He has been riding out a lot at home for the last two years and I promised when this horse was right I would let him ride it.
"Today was a great result for the lad.
"He is hard-working but he was getting itchy feet and he wondered if he should be here with the other lads, but I said he is doing well and his time will come and he has now gone and ridden a televised winner."
Of Aerial, Nicholls added: "He had a leg injury. Since he has come back into work we have worked him hard.
"He could not run on good to firm ground and this was the first race where the ground had a bit of cut in it.
"There were reservations about the track but we knew he was fit and you have to run them fit when they have had a long time off.
"We will perhaps look at the London National (Sandown) now as he likes going right-handed."
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