Donald McCain and owner Tim Leslie have enjoyed plenty of big-race success together and Gaelik Coast appears another smart prospect for the pair judged on his debut victory over fences at Fakenham.
Having signed off last season with a brace of novice hurdle wins at Doncaster and Bangor, the six-year-old gelding hit the ground running on his chasing bow in the Greene King IPA Novices’ Chase.
As favourite Mick Pastor crashed out at the last when mounting his challenge, the 5-1 shot demonstrated the best of his battling abilities to overhaul long-time leader Timetochill close to the line before going on to score by a head.
McCain, speaking away from the track, said: “We had him in at Carlisle, but the ground had gone heavy up there. Fakenham isn’t a place I would normally go to, but we wanted to give him a nice education over fences on nice ground.
“He is a nice horse that has got a great attitude and will get a bit further as well. The win was a bonus and the best thing to take out of today was his jumping, which was really good. He is a young horse with a future.
“His first run over hurdles was disappointing, but he wasn’t himself, then he won his next two, but he always looked like he was going to jump a fence.
“I’m never one to rush them, but we will be governed by the novice chase system, however, there are no grand plans at this stage.”
Chris Gordon can now boast both riding and training a winner at the Norfolk track after Twominutes Turkish (100-30) secured a front-running 15-length success in the Racing To School, “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle.
The Winchester handler said: “That was my first winner as a trainer here, though I rode a mare called Nethertara to victory at the track 22 years ago in a men’s open point-to-point.
“I spoke to Josh (Moore) this morning and we said to pop him off in front and let him lob along as he jumps very well and the plan has worked well.
“He came to me as an unbroken three-year-old and this is great for the lads that own him, as they have let me be easy on him and their patience has been rewarded.”
A switch back to chasing is on the cards for Glimpse Of Gold, who claimed his second success since joining Sarah Humphrey when landing the Greene King IPA Handicap Hurdle by a length and three-quarters.
Humphrey said of the 9-2 winner: “He has run ever so well since we’ve had him and that was brilliant today as that was off a career high mark. He is just so tough and game.
“His confidence is sky high and it has just grown with every race. We will now go chasing with him. I’ve put him over fences and he jumps well, so he should be well handicapped.”
Harry Reed celebrated his second winner back since returning from a broken arm after steering the Neil Mulholland-trained Master Burbidge (10-1) to glory by a length in the Racing Partnership Selling Handicap Chase.
Reed said: “I broke my left arm at the start of August and had eight weeks off. I’ve still got the metal plates in, but the team at Oaksey House were a big help in getting me back.
“Me and Neil (Mulholland) have done well in the selling races here this season as we won the selling hurdle here at the last meeting, which was my first winner back from injury.
“Master Burbidge is probably not the best of battlers and I needed a good one at the last and luckily I got it.”