Anthony Honeyball’s Serious Charges could be headed to the Punchestown Festival after maintaining his flawless hurdling record in the Optimum Experience Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter.
The 7-2 favourite after two prior hurdling successes, the gelding was stepped up in trip and demonstrated his chasing potential when making light work of the soft ground and cruising to a six-and-a-half-length victory.
A career over fences beckons, but there may be a final outing over hurdles on the agenda as Honeyball has his eye on either Aintree or Punchestown for the horse’s concluding run of the campaign.
“He’s a lovely horse, he wants to go chasing and we were half-inclined to go for that, but if we felt we had some ground to run on towards the end of the season we’d have one more go with him,” he said.
“He’s such a good jumper if you watch him jump through that race.
“He’s going to be such a nice chaser, he’s got a very good eye for a jump.
“He could go for a handicap at Punchestown, if he could get in one, or maybe a novice at Aintree.
“He’d want the soft ground but you’ll get that at Punchestown, he’ll have a bit of breathing space and perhaps go there for a tilt.”
Kerry Lee’s New Found Fame made a winning start to his career when taking the White Lion At Weston Novices’ Hurdle by an impressive four and three-quarter lengths.
The six-year-old is half-brother to Grade Two scorer Arctic Skipper and four-time winner Castle Robin and has been saved for soft ground by his trainer.
Starting at 17-2 as one of two debutants in the race, the bay took to the lead as the final flight approached and stayed on to prevail under Jonathan Burke.
“That was a very nice debut from a very well-bred young horse,” Lee said.
“I can’t say I was expecting it, you never can on a debut, but he’s shown us all the right signs at home.
“We knew he needed soft ground, he’s a little bit delicate so I wanted to come to a lower-key meeting – that said it’s really busy here.
“Six runners, not too crowded, some of these maiden and novice hurdles have 16 runners and I was trying to keep him away from that. He’s done it really nicely.”
Elsewhere on the card, Kim Bailey’s Starvoski made a winning return to the smaller obstacles after an unsuccessful spell over fences, landing the Platinum Jubilee Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 10-1 for Kim Bailey and David Bass.
The 1652 Bar & Restaurant At Weston Handicap Chase was then picked up by Harry Fry’s 5-2 favourite Mille Sussurri, who was ridden by Bryan Carver after Sean Bowen suffered a fall earlier in the afternoon.