Belfast Banter handled the huge step up to Grade One company from handicaps to win the Betway Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree for trainer Peter Fahey and jockey Kevin Sexton.

Fahey's six-year-old only made it into the County Hurdle off bottom-weight, but he enjoyed the slightly better ground at Cheltenham and looked even better on Merseyside.

For Pleasure adopted his customary role at the head of affairs, with Nico de Boinville keen not to give him too much rope on the favourite Dusart.

Having just his second run, Dusart made several errors and it was to his credit he still had a chance jumping the last. But by then Belfast Banter was still on the bridle.

Do Your Job emerged as the biggest threat, although Kevin Sexton had enough in reserve to see him off by a length and a quarter. Dusart was back in third, a further length and a quarter away. Houx Gris was a relatively early faller. 

Winning jockey Sexton told ITV Racing: "It's unbelievable. It's my first Grade One and Peter's first Grade One - it's what you dream about really.

"I got the Cheltenham winner and have always wanted a Grade One winner. I can't believe this horse has done it.

"He travelled and jumped, and I got there way too soon. I knew they'd stop (in front), but they stopped way sooner than I thought they would.

"He got there so easily I literally couldn't take him back. To be fair to him, he put his head out and galloped the whole way to the line. He's just all of a sudden developed the will to win." 

Tronador (c) pushes clear of his rivals to win

There was also Irish success in the opening race on day two of the Grand National Festival when Jack Kennedy weaved his way through expertly on Tronador to land the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle for Denise Foster.

The lightly-raced five-year-old was the only runner trained in Ireland - by Denise Foster - among the 22-strong field for the opening race on day two of the Grand National meeting, and his victory showed the travelling contingent's domination at the Cheltenham Festival is not letting up.

In the middle of the pack early, Tronador - who was very weak in the betting, going off 22-1 after being 8-1 overnight - found himself outpaced early in the straight.

A slow jump three from home did not help his cause, but suddenly he began to pass horses.

Long-time leader Kateson was still in front jumping the last - but Tronador landed with momentum and sprinted clear to beat Dans Le Vent by two and a half lengths, with Edwardstone running on for third.