Enqarde has a date with Haydock’s Betfred Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase after getting back to winning ways at Warwick on Wednesday.
Trained by Dr Richard Newland, the nine-year-old gave David Pipe’s Remastered a 10-length beating in the well-known staying handicap in 2021 but has struggled to hit the same heights since.
However, he booked a return to the Merseyside contest on December 23 when making a long-awaited return to the winner’s enclosure in the Ignite Incentives Handicap Chase – with the 10-1 shot showing plenty of guts to get the better of Docpickedme in a pulsating finish.
Charlie Skinner, member of joint owners Off The Clock Partners, said: “He had a wind operation over the summer and he has come right again. He had not been right since winning the Tommy Whittle, so that is why he had his third wind operation.
“First time out he is not normally so good, so we didn’t have thousands on him! Jumping the last we thought at least he has got third, but he is a really tough horse and he was given a peach of a ride (by Charlie Hammond).
“Haydock Park suits him, and I think the plan will be to go back to the Tommy Whittle after that.”
The future could be bright for Alan King’s Helnwein (10-11 favourite), who put his bumper experience to good use to oblige favourite backers in the Watch On Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle.
King said: “He is a horse that we like and he has done everything so easily at home. He does everything on the bridle at home and it would have been no surprise if he got beat today as a lot of mine have needed a run.
“He has done a lot of strengthening through the summer and the boys did a great job last season in only letting me run him in bumpers.
“There is a lot more to come from him and he is very much a work in progress. Hopefully he will build on that.
“I think we will stick at two miles for the time being, but he will get further in time. We could look to see if we can find one of those valuable introductory hurdles, but he will need between three and four weeks between his races.
“I needed to find some good horses, but last season’s bumper horses are the best I’ve had for a long time and he is one of the nicer ones.”
Johnny Burke enjoyed a double on the card, steering Henry Daly’s Rockinastorm (4-1) to victory in the Visit racingtv.com Novices’ Handicap Chase before adding to his tally aboard Ben Case’s Annie Day (7-1) in the Visit racingtv.com Novices’ Handicap Chase.
There was also a sighting of the Grand National-winning colours of Earth Summit as Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Supasunrise (4-1) claimed the 100% Racing TV Profits Back To Racing Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase in the hands of Finn Lambert.
“That was good as he really kept on plugging away,” said Twiston-Davies.
“The last day at Southwell everything just went wrong and he was jumping out to the right. We gave him a bit of physiotherapy and here we are.
“I think we could step him up to three miles back on better ground, so we have options with him going forward.”