Porticello towered over his rivals in the paddock and proved their superior in the finish as he bagged Listed honours on his British debut in the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby.
Gary Moore’s imposing new recruit had to concede 5lb and upwards all round as the winner of a conditions hurdle at Auteuil six months ago.
But despite some awkward leaps en route, the slightly uneasy 6-4 favourite made light of his task to prevail by almost four lengths from Genuflex.
Jamie Moore, riding for his father, had Porticello in behind but close to a moderate pace before forging to the front in the straight and then repelling a packed field of challengers spread across the track from two out.
The form of his Auteuil victory was well-advertised when the runner-up in that race, Magistrato, also made a winning British debut at Chepstow this month.
After Porticello’s victory in a race which often pinpoints a contender for major juvenile prizes later in the season, the winning jockey admitted that – in this case – he is optimistic about even longer-term prospects.
“He’s given weight away to winners in a Listed race, so you’ve got to be happy with the performance,” said Moore.
“He’s still a bit of a baby, so I’m hoping he’ll progress from here.”
Porticello already has the appearance of a future chaser, although he remains 16-1 favourite with Paddy Power for the Triumph Hurdle at next year’s Cheltenham Festival .
Moore added: “He’s a big, strong lad. He just took time to acclimatise during the race today.
“When he was in tight he was a bit messy over his hurdles.
“Maybe in time a fence might just suit him, (and) he’ll bend his back a bit more.
“I’ll see where dad and (owner) Ollie (Harris) want to go next. I’m sure they’ll have a plan for him – but he’ll probably be more of a four- or five-year-old type.”
Moore needed to be strong in the saddle as Porticello knuckled down well after the last, and the jockey received a two-day suspension from the stewards for using his whip above the permitted level.
He had an update, meanwhile, on his brother Josh – who is recovering from a back operation following his fall at Plumpton this month.
“He came out (of hospital) last night,” said Moore, who suffered a similar injury himself last year and was out of action for three months.
“He’s over the worst of it – it’s a long road to recovery, but he works hard in his recoveries.
“He’s used to it these days, and it’s great that he got home.”