Lord Transcend made amends for a crashing fall at Wetherby over Christmas with an impressive victory in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park on Saturday.

Howard Johnson's grey went off a hot favourite for the Rowland Meyrick Chase at the West Yorkshire track but he came to grief at the 11th fence.

However, he made no mistake this time with a bold-jumping display on very testing ground.

Graham Lee soon had the eight-year-old in front, chased by Francois Doumen's First Gold with the rest of the field close up.

Going down the far side for the final time the two leaders began to draw away from the pack and it soon became clear that Lord Transcend (9-4 favourite) was going the better.

Apart from a mistake six out, he was never really in any danger and stormed home by ten lengths from First Gold with another six back to Take The Stand.

''He was very buzzy and sweating at Wetherby. But he had two handlers here and he travelled great down the road. When I saw him in the paddock I thought 'today is the day','' said Johnson.

''He's a relentless galloper and he loves this ground - that's the secret. It takes a good horse to jump as well as that.

''He ran a good race in the Hennessy (fourth) at Newbury and I pushed him for Newbury because this horse had a leg - he's been fired. I'm not worried if he doesn't run again this season. This horse will not go to Cheltenham and he'd be too young for the National.''

Lord Transcend was the horse responsible for getting the highly-successful partnership of Johnson and his big-spending patron, Graham Wylie, started.

''This horse got me going with Graham. He's ended up with 85 horses at the yard now and that's through Lord Transcend. This was the first horse he ever bought.

''He's a very good man, a very good owner and we get on well together,'' Johnson added. ''Graham got the bug through this horse.''

Doumen was delighted with First Gold's effort.

He said: ''That was brilliant - I'm very happy. He can't give over a stone to a very decent horse.''

Roman Ark (4-1) booked his ticket for the Cheltenham Festival with an impressive victory over some classy rivals in the Grade Two Imperial Leather Novices' Hurdle.

Handling the heavy going well, he pulled his way to the front off the final bend and apart from a slight mistake at the last, was never in any danger thereafter, coming home eight lengths clear of Baby Run.

''He's a nice horse and it was a true-run race. He's done it great and he jumped great. Fergus (King) said it was his fault at the last because he went short and he shouldn't have done because he's a horse who attacks his jumps,'' said winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson, based in Malton.

''He'll go on better ground but he may want a bit further on it. He's a galloper. He wouldn't be the quickest horse but he keeps galloping.

''He'll be entered in the Supreme and SunAlliance and that will probably be his next race. He's in the totesport Gold Trophy but if Rooster Booster runs he won't get in (the handicap).''

Blue Canyon struck for Doumen with a comfortable success in the totesport Hurdle to give Tony McCoy his 150th winner of the season.

McCoy and Doumen just missed out on a double when Mayeul found Baron Monty (12-1) half a length too good in the Red Square Vodka ''Fixed Brush'' Novices' Hurdle. Baron Monty is trained at Billingham by Chris Grant.

l Inglis Drever staked his claim for top honours at the Cheltenham Festival with a convincing victory in the Commhoist Logistics Champion Hurdle Trial.

Howard Johnson's six-year-old was held up in the early stages by Graham Lee before making good headway to move into contention off the final bend.

The 4-5 favourite, who at one stage appeared to be struggling, responded well to Lee's urgings.

Once in top gear, he collared long-time leader Mister McGoldrick on the run-in and stayed on strongly in the very testing ground to win going away by eight lengths.

The French Furze was another 10 lengths back in third.

''The ground was desperate but once he got going he's done it well,'' said Johnson. ''He's proved a point, that he's got so much natural ability. If he does go to Cheltenham he wants it on the easier side of good - he doesn't want heavy.

''Sir Mark Prescott (his previous trainer) always said you get good to soft ground and he'll be all right but don't run him if it's heavy. But I took a chance.

''Sir Mark is a good judge but I'm not a bad judge either and I took a chance because there are no more races for him until Liverpool and Cheltenham. But he wouldn't run in the Champion Hurdle if it was good ground - he'd want good to soft ground.''

Following his win, Inglis Drever is joint-top with Azertyuiop on 43 points in the British Horseracing Board's Order of Merit series