Alan King’s mare Alsa Mix maintained her unbeaten record in the Ballymore Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandwon.
She did not make her debut in a point to point until after turning six in January – but has made giant strides since.
It began for King in a bumper at Worcester in September, before she won on her hurdling debut at Exeter last month and she handled the step up to Grade Two level with aplomb.
Relishing the heavy ground, the Wayne Hutchinson-ridden 12-1 chance poured it on in the straight, coming home three and a half lengths clear of Darlac.
King has a good record in the race, winning it four times previously.
“It sounds as if she did it well and we’re obviously very pleased,” said King from his Barbury Castle Stables base.
“We were relying on the slower ground helping her, you know – she’d won twice earlier on, but the ground was against her both times yet she still managed to win, so we’re delighted with her.
“I’m not sure why she didn’t run until she was six, but she’s making up for lost time now.
“We’ve had a few winners of this race and we tend to look at the Challow Hurdle (Newbury). I’ll see how she comes out of this, but it’s a nice problem to have.”
Alsa Mix was introduced into the betting for the OLBG Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham by Paddy Power at 12-1.
Torpillo was a striking winner on British debut for Nigel Twiston-Davies in the Simon Jennings Memorial Introductory Juvenile Hurdle.
Daryl Jacob made all on the Isaac Souede and Simon Munir-owned youngster, who was quoted at 16-1 by RaceBets for the Triumph Hurdle after his 23-length win.
“Obviously you are always hopeful they can do it like that when you send them to the races for the first time,” said Twiston-Davies of his 4-1 scorer.
“I’ve no idea if it was down to the ground or not, it was his first run for us so whether he needs it like that we’ll find out.
“He’ll probably get an entry for the Finale (Hurdle) at Chepstow, but I believe the owners have another horse (Adjali) who is heading there, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
David Pipe’s Warthog (16-1) delivered on his earlier promise in the Direct Commercial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
“I don’t think I’ve sent one to Sandown first time over fences before, but he’d schooled well so I thought we’d give it a go,” said Pipe.
“He wasn’t seeing his races out last year, but fences were always going to be for him and he saw it out today.
“We knew he jumped, so we thought we’d get out of trouble in front.”