Wakanda flew home late to deny Warriors Tale in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.
Sue Smith's chaser, narrowly beaten in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby over Christmas, looked booked for a place at best over the last, with Paul Nicholls' Warriors Tale appearing sure to prevail having seen off the challenges of Long House Hall, Federici and others.
The heavily-backed favourite L'Ami Serge was staying on all the time and there were five in with a chance with 100 yards to go.
But it was Wakanda, sent off at 8-1, who found another gear close home to win by a narrow margin.
L'Ami Serge stayed on for third, with Long House Hall fourth.
Wakanda carries the colours of Margaret Scholey and her late husband Ray, who died earlier this week.
Harvey Smith, assistant to his wife, said: "It's a fitting tribute to Ray. He's been a great supporter of National Hunt racing in north and we could do with a few more people like him."
Asked whether he felt Wakanda could be a Grand National contender, he said: "I don't think so. He's not big enough."
Winning jockey Henry Brooke said: "He's getting a bit lairy in his old age and he was backing off his fences.
"After jumping the last I knew I'd finish well but I didn't know if I'd get there. Thankfully he got up in the dying strides.
"That's the first time the horse has won in over two years so it definitely won't do him any harm.
"His owner passed away earlier this week, so it's sad circumstances. It's a shame he couldn't be here to see this but I'm sure he's looking down on us."
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