Chantry House made his debut over fences a triumphant one in the Ascot Racecourse Supports Safer Gambling Week Novices’ Chase at Ascot.
Last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle third looked a natural on his first chasing start, running out a convincing winner of the two-mile-three-furlong contest.
Settled in behind the early pace, the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old had his task made easier when chief market rival Pic D’Orhy took a fall at the third-last.
Left with just outsider of the trio Up The Straight to beat, the 4-9 favourite only needed to be shaken up over the final two fences before crossing the line 26 lengths clear of his sole rival.
Henderson said: “He was having a really good blow. Nico (de Boinville) said coming out of Swinley Bottom he was taking his first blow. It’s quite tiring ground out there. I was really pleased with his jumping. It was good and tidy, but you have to be a bit careful going down that hill with one first time out.
“Once he pulled him out and said ‘come on, go for it’ he was quite relaxed and warmed to it all the way up the hill.
“You need to be fairly sure of a horse to bring them here first time.”
Assessing future plans for Chantry House – who is quoted at 12-1 for the Marsh Novices’ Chase in March with Coral and Betfair – the Seven Barrows handler hinted a return to Ascot next month for the Grade Two Jacquart Noel Novices’ Chase could be on the agenda.
He said: “He learnt a lot today and could come back here at Christmas.
“He certainly is not going to go down in trip and that was about ideal for now. One day he is almost certainly going to get further.”
Danny Kirwan got his career back on track with a front-running success in the Lexicon Recruitment “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle.
The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old went two places better than on his comeback at Aintree to secure his first victory in over two years.
Although favourite Time Flies By looked a serious threat late on, the 3-1 shot found plenty from the front to claim victory by three and a half lengths.
Nicholls – out of luck with Pic D’Orhy in the opener – said: “He has had plenty of problems and needed his first run at Aintree. I thought he came on a lot for that.
“It has been stop-start with him and it was nice he improved from that and he will improve again from today.
“He is a chaser in the making, but I guess we will stay over hurdles for the immediate future. He will make a lovely chaser one day. He will definitely have one more hurdle race I’d say, probably over a bit further.”
The Ditcheat handler has not ruled out pitching Danny Kirwan into Grade One company for the first time in next month’s Challow Hurdle at Newbury.
He added: “You wouldn’t be afraid to (run in a Challow Hurdle) on very testing ground, but we have two or three for that. Some of the younger ones wouldn’t want that and if the ground was heavy you wouldn’t rule something like that out.”
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