Dan Skelton is in no rush to make any fancy plans for Sholokjack despite maintaining his unbeaten record in impressive style at Wetherby.
A £75,000 purchase after winning an Irish point-to-point, the six-year-old made a successful debut under rules at Leicester last month and was a 6-4 favourite to follow up in West Yorkshire.
Dropped out towards the rear during the early stages of division two of the Try Racing TV For Free Now EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle, Sholokjack eased into contention under a motionless Harry Skelton.
The Sholokhov gelding moved to the lead jumping the final flight and was ultimately good value for the winning margin of two and three-quarter lengths.
“I was bit unsure what happened after the last at Leicester as he travelled up to it so well and didn’t do an awful lot after it. It left things a little bit unanswered,” said the winning trainer.
“I think Harry riding him like he did today helped and the horse has obviously got a big engine. He’s a big horse with plenty of talent and he’ll jump a fence next year.
“We’ve not even entered him for Cheltenham. I’d say the before at Cheltenham would be as much of a problem as the race itself – he’s not ready for that yet mentally.
“We’ll look after him and don’t know what he can’t do for a while.”
Jonjo O’Neill and son Jonjo Jnr teamed up to win division one with 11-4 shot Limetree Boy.
Graystone (9-4) and Bryony Frost led from pillar to post in the Watch RacingTV With Free Trial Now Juvenile Hurdle.
Message Personnel was the even-money favourite after finishing fifth in a Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham last month, while high-class Flat recruit Fleurman made his jumping bow for Olly Murphy.
But both were put in their place by the Lucy Wadham-trained Graystone, who bounced back from a final-flight fall at Taunton four weeks ago with a one-and-a-half-length verdict over Message Personnel.
“The work has gone in at home to get his confidence up after our mishap at Taunton, which really wasn’t fair on him as it wasn’t his fault – he jumped it great but our landing gear buckled,” said Frost.
“The race was at our mercy at that stage, so we’ve come here for a nice race with some nice horses in it and he’s done it really well.
“He showed he stays as while he may not be the tallest, he doesn’t half pull like a stream train!
“His jumping still needs work, but obviously staying on our feet was the main thing and he’s learnt how to get the landing gear out, which was important.”
Following successive neck defeats at Doncaster and Sedgefield, Brian Ellison’s Son Of The Somme notched a deserved victory in the racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle under Henry Brooke.
“He’s been a bit unlucky – he probably should have won last time,” Ellison said of the 11-4 favourite.
“The track suited him better today. He stays well and will probably get three miles.
“He qualifies for the final of this (Go North Cab On Target Series) at Kelso now at the end of March so he’ll go there, but we’ll see what the handicapper does and see if there’s anything beforehand.”
Ellison went on to complete a double with Mr Whipped claiming top honours in the Racing TV Free For A Month Handicap Chase.
The 6-1 shot was providing jockey Nathan Moscrop with a landmark 75th winner, meaning he has now ridden out his claim.
He said: “I’m delighted. Rebecca Menzies is my main trainer, her horses are flying and thank God I’m staying fit and healthy and things are clicking.
“Becky gave me my first job to ride most of hers and it’s nice to ride a winner for Brian as I’ve been knocking on the door.”
The Nigel Hawke-trained Bring The Action edged out fellow 9-2 joint-favourite If Not For Dylan by a short-head in the racingtv.com/freemonth Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.
It was an emotional success for Tim Holmes, with the Kieren Buckley-ridden winner carrying the colours of his late wife Claire.
He said: “I’d normally be jumping up and down but this is a bit emotional, to say the least. My wife Claire and I bought this horse and she died last November. We’ve been trying to get the win for her.
“It was a long drive up here from Devon. I set off at 5.30am and picked up Claire’s daughter Kaitlyn in Leeds – but this makes it worthwhile.”