Jockey Nico de Boinville heaped praise on officials at Haydock after steering Mr Whipped to his first victory over fences on Wednesday.
The Merseyside venue drew criticism from some quarters during last month’s Betfair Chase meeting due to the height and stiffness of the fences that had been built ahead of the high-profile fixture.
Six horses fell and another unseated their rider across the four races over the larger obstacles and one of those fallers was the Nicky Henderson-trained River Wylde, who looked the likely winner when suffering a heavy fall under De Boinville at the final obstacle in a graduation chase.
River Wylde’s esteemed stablemate Might Bite disappointed in the Betfair Chase itself later in the afternoon, after which Henderson said: “They have built us some big fences here today, it’s not the first one of mine that has been caught out.”
Tellwright revealed prior to racing on Wednesday that the fences had been reduced in height by “between two and three inches” and some of the birch had been removed to ensure they were not as stiff.
And De Boinville expressed his satisfaction after Mr Whipped jumped neatly on his way to an assured success in the Liverpool University Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA Novices’ Chase.
He told Racing UK: “I have to say, on behalf of Seven Barrows – myself, the guv’nor (Henderson) and our owners – I’d like to thank Haydock and say they’ve done a fantastic job today.
“They’ve listened to whatever was said on that Saturday, and to bounce back and put on a show like they have today has been absolutely fantastic.
“They’ve cut the fences down. They’re still formidable and take a bit of jumping, but they’ve thinned them out and there’s a bit of give in there.”
Mr Whipped was the 8-11 favourite after finishing a close-up third on his fencing debut at Cheltenham and was always doing enough to see off market rival Springtown Lake by a length and three-quarters.
De Boinville added: “He definitely would have learned a lot at Cheltenham and he’s had a lovely round of jumping there today.
“I liked how he quickened clear and it was an ideal start looking forward to some good prizes over Christmas.
“I always thought he was going to be a better chaser than hurdler. He’s a big, strong, bold type and he’s matured over the summer.”
Another horse who looks sure to go on to bigger and better things is The Big Bite, who completely outclassed his rivals in the Watch Racing UK In Stunning HD ‘Introductory’ Hurdle.
Eleventh in last season’s Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, Tom George’s charge made a smart start to his hurdling career at Chepstow and justified prohibitive odds of 1-2 when following up by 19 lengths from Demopolis.
“It was a long way from ideal making the running as he’s a green horse, but it will probably make a man of him,” said George.
“He’s never been in front like that before, so it’s been a big learning curve for him.
“I liked the way he picked up when he asked him and we’ll see where we go from here.
“The Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown could be an option, but we’ll see what the ground is like. It was as soft as he’d want it today.”
Kim Bailey and Johnny Burke combined to land the Watch Racing UK Anywhere Maiden Hurdle with 11-10 favourite Newtide.
There was a thrilling climax to the Watch Racing UK On BT TV Handicap Hurdle, with the Ruth Jefferson-trained Secrete Stream (12-1) getting the better of Becky The Thatcher by a neck under 7lb claimer Aiden Blakemore.