Nicky Henderson admitted Dusart “still has a lot to learn” after being made to pull out all the stops to make a successful chasing debut at Leicester.
An impressive winner on his hurdling bow at Newbury in November of last season, the seven-year-old did not run again until finishing third in a Grade One event at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in April.
Faced with just two rivals, Dusart was 2-7 favourite to make a winning return from another lengthy absence in the Pertemps Network Novices’ Chase, but his victory was far from straightforward.
After jumping left at the handful of fences that were not omitted due to low sun, Henderson’s charge had mastered Barnaviddaun when that rival made a jolting error and unseated his rider three fences from home.
Dusart was then challenged and briefly passed by Sail Away between the final two obstacles, before being galvanised by Nico de Boinville and eventually winning the argument by five lengths.
Henderson said: “It was only the third run of any description in his life and it was a nice race to find, as it was only put on last Saturday – I wasn’t intending to come here at all.
“It was always going to be messy and then it got even messier when they took all the fences out. The one thing I didn’t expect was for him to jump left. He has never suggested he would do that.
“He was green and it looked like he was going to get completely outgalloped for a moment. He probably blew up and then found his second wind.
“Nico had to wake him up to do it, but it’s been a long time since Aintree and he still has a lot to learn. He’ll heave learnt a lot today, I’m sure.”
Coral make Dusart a 25-1 shot for both the Turners Novices’ Chase and the longer Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but Henderson is in no rush to make future plans.
“You’re obviously going to go left-handed next time and the good thing is all the races in the spring are left-handed,” he added.
“I’m not making any predictions on where he’s going, but there are a lot of good races in the spring that are that way round at places like Newbury, Cheltenham and Aintree.
“We probably always didn’t think he’d go to Cheltenham and he’s not going to go on the back of that whatever happens. He’s got to get out there and do it again and again.
“I think he’s got to learn more about life. At Newbury he won on the bridle and he didn’t know what had happened to him when he went round Aintree over two miles – they ran him off his feet!
“Today, he’s gone up to two-miles-six on his debut over fences, so it’s been a pretty unconventional route to say the least.
“He did have a pretty nasty accident in the middle of last season and he was doing a Shishkin on me earlier this year – I couldn’t get him right, his trach washes were wrong and we had to wait.
“He is for the future and you’d like to stay small for his next run.
“He’s got plenty of ability, we needn’t worry about that.”
The Stuart Edmunds-trained Maskada (100-30) upset odds-on favourite Zambella in the Pertemps Network Mares’ Chase.
Zambella was sent on her way as a 4-11 chance to notch her sixth win at Listed level and second in this race, but Maskada proved a length and a half too strong in the hands of Ciaran Gethings.
Edmunds said: “She’d got placed black type and it’s nice to go and win one.
“Realistically we came here thinking Zambella needed to underperform to win, but she jumped great – her jumping has come on leaps and bounds in her last three runs.
“We’ll probably go to Huntingdon at the end of the month for another Listed race. We’ll probably meet Zambella again and it’s over two and a half miles, but the way she’s galloped through the line having not jumped the last well today would suggest she should stay.”
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