The Skelton siblings combined to land the big-race spoils at Huntingdon last Thursday.

Malachite (right) on the way to victory for jockey Nico de Boinville and trainer Nicky Henderson in the closing maiden hurdle at Huntingdon Racecourse last Thursday. Picture: STEVE DAVIESMalachite (right) on the way to victory for jockey Nico de Boinville and trainer Nicky Henderson in the closing maiden hurdle at Huntingdon Racecourse last Thursday. Picture: STEVE DAVIES

Jockey Harry was aboard Rene’s Girl for brother and trainer Dan as she powered to glory in the Listed Smarkets Lady Protectress Mares’ Chase.

The 4/1 chance prevailed by two lengths from runner-up Happy Diva (Richard Patrick riding for Kerry Lee) in the £75,000 contest – the richest race of its kind anywhere in Britain.

Desert Queen, runner up 12 months earlier, had to settle for a distant third on this occasion while 2017 winner Antartica de Thaix was pulled up after breaking a blood vessel.

Rene’s Girl completed a double on the day for the Skeltons following the triumph of Starcrossed at 16/1 in the two-mile novices’ hurdle.

That horse wasn’t the only big-priced winner as Birch Hill obliged at the same odds in the second division of the two-mile handicap hurdle for champion jockey Richard Johnson and trainer Sophie Leech – winning for the third time in as many runs under this pilot.

The first division went to Shining Romeo as he returned to form for jockey Aidan Coleman and trainer Denis Quinn at 13/2.

The opening two-and-a-half mile handicap hurdle went to 7/1 shot Red Admirable (Kielan Woods riding for Graham McPherson), while Kincora Fort was the afternoon’s only successful favourite in a two-and-a-half mile chase for jockey Wayne Hutchinson and trainer Noel Williams.

The powerful Nicky Henderson stable took the honours in the closing maiden hurdle thanks to the Nico de Boinville ridden Malachite (3/1). The action on the track was followed by plenty of lively debate off it during a Cheltenham Festival preview evening.

The next fixture at Huntingdon is this Sunday when the long-distance 188Bet Cambridgeshire National Handicap Chase is the highlight of the Family Fun Day. That contest forms part of a seven-race card scheduled to get underway at 2pm.