Allmankind put in a perfect round of jumping to make a winning debut over fences with a stylish front-running success at Warwick.
Trainer Dan Skelton saw his decision to switch last season’s Triumph Hurdle third – who filled the same spot on his return to action over hurdles at Cheltenham last month – to fences immediately vindicated in the in the Stan Mellor Memorial Novices’ Chase.
Quickly getting into a good rhythm out in front, Allmankind attacked his fences with plenty of zest before cruising home 13 lengths clear of runner-up Zanza, to form the opening leg of a double for Skelton and his brother Harry.
The Alcester handler said of the even-money favourite: “He had schooled OK at home. His technique and commitment was good, but he just got up to the jump and popped it rather than being exuberant.
“I’d done a load of work with him before Cheltenham, but perhaps he wasn’t that fit. I said to Tom Messenger (assistant) when they got down to the start this horse will be keen today as he looked like he was more on it.
“I was a bit undecided whether to run him on the ground, but I spoke to Tim Gredley (co-owner) last night and he said they are there to compete so credit goes to him. I was honestly delighted with him and I couldn’t expect to see better.
“We will go to the Henry VIII next at Sandown. Here and Sandown are both good jumping tests. Let’s just get on with it and see where we are.”
Owners Gill Duckworth and Pat Dry left the track in good spirits after Accordingtogino (5-1) completed the Skelton brace when responding well to first-time cheekpieces in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Chase.
Duckworth said: “It was so exciting and I’m absolutely thrilled. We came here with zero expectations. He went to Lingfield 15 days ago and he wasn’t very good at all.
“When Harry put him out in front today we said let’s have our moment of glory in front, but he never stopped.”
Having worked with the likes of Altior and Buveur D’Air during his time as assistant to Nicky Henderson, trainer Toby Lawes celebrated a first winner in his own name after Kannapolis (100-30) struck gold by nine lengths in the Bet At racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle.
The 28-year-old said: “This means such a huge amount to me and the team at home who have done such a fantastic job and have been very patient.
“It’s great for the team and Andrew Wates whose yard we are in and he is a shareholder in this horse as well.
“It’s a great weight off my mind and hopefully we can keep kicking on.”
Nico de Boinville made his fleeting visit to the course a winning one aboard Bothwell Bridge, who went one better than his two bumper efforts with a facile success in the racingtv.com Novices’ Hurdle.
De Boinville said of the Nicky Henderson-trained 30-100 shot: “We wanted to take a bit of a lead to give him some education – the race fell apart and I was left out in front but he jumped for fun.
“He is forward enough though he did take a bit of a blow jumping the last, that’s why I rode him out at the end.”
Flirtatious Girl maintained Kim Bailey’s recent run of good form on her debut in division one of the British EBF Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, which the 2-1 favourite claimed by a length and a half.
Bailey said: “She was very green, but is as tough as old boots. I’m really pleased as they are not the luckiest of owners so it is great to start off with a nice win.
“Something like the Listed bumper at Huntingdon could be next.”