Lecale’s Article had no problems striking gold in the same race which eluded illustrious stablemate Shishkin on his hurdles debut 12 months ago – completing a Newbury double for Nicky Henderson.
Having left the track in disbelief last year, following the fall of his subsequent Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner in the Boscasports Retail Bookmakers Choice Maiden Hurdle, Henderson enjoyed better luck in the extended two-mile prize this time.
Wearing the same silks of Shishkin’s owner Joe Donnelly, 8-15 favourite Lecale’s Article needed only to be shaken up by Nico de Boinville to defeat Restandbethankful by seven lengths.
Henderson said: “This was the race Shishkin fell in last year. He fell at the first down the back, and I was mortified.
“This is a nice horse. He had a problem this time last year in the autumn, and he had to miss the season.
“It’s probably done him no harm, because he was a big baby then and is a big baby now. He is learning, but he jumps well and he will jump fences well. ”
Although Lecale’s Article was trimmed from 25-1 into 20-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, the reigning champion trainer will continue taking small steps for the moment.
He added: “He is quite good, and I think he is more for chasing next year. I don’t think we will be going anywhere grand over novice hurdles.
“You would have not run any more than that today, but when he goes up a bit in grade he will go a bit further.”
Goodbye Stranger, who made made his debut a triumphant one by a length and a quarter, got the ball rolling for Henderson in the opening Boscasports Racing’s Digital Display Juvenile Hurdle.
Henderson said of the 100-30 winner: “He can be a bit wild at home, so that is why he had the hood on and that is why we dropped him in at the back.
“He was just getting the hang of it at the end. I like to do that again in a small one, because he has still got a lot to learn.”
Sao ensured the journey back up to Durham would be sweet for trainer Rebecca Menzies by following up his recent Hexham win in the Boscaports The No1 Digital Betting Shop Display Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.
Menzies said of the 5-2 favourite: “We had him in a few races but we thought this would be the most winnable opportunity, and a little bit of rain has probably helped him as well.
“He has not been the most straightforward since we got him. Nathan (Moscrop) won on him at Hexham, and he got a great tune out of him that day and rides him at home.”
A trip to Wetherby for the William Hill Castleford Handicap Chase on December 27 could be next up for the former Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old.
Menzies added: “I said if he ran here and didn’t have a hard race I might take him to the Castleford at Wetherby.
“It is ground dependent, but he would be off quite a nice mark in that.”
French Paradoxe (7-2) provided Oliver Signy with his first Newbury winner when flooring odds-on favourite Flash Collonges by half a length in the Every Race Live On Racing TV EBF Stallions ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.
The Lambourn trainer said: “It is great to have a winner at my local track. He is a horse which showed so much potential. It’s great it has all come together today.
“It’s an early Christmas present for us, and (owners) the Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club.”