Humphrey Bogart signalled he could be a promising recruit to the jumping game when he put his training problems behind him with a first win over hurdles at Huntingdon.
The 2016 Lingfield Derby Trial victor and Epsom Derby fifth delighted connections as he took the Daily Racing Specials At 188Bet Maiden Hurdle by 10 lengths in the hands of Nico de Boinville.
It was just the third racecourse appearance for the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding in 21 months, but showed he still retains plenty of ability.
“It was pretty amazing considering he’s had a few problems. He’s had a tendon injury. We’ve had to be patient and his owners have had to be patient with him,” said James Ramsden, managing director of owners Chelsea Thoroughbreds.
“It was very exciting to see him in the winner’s enclosure.
“We’ll wait to speak to Nicky. We’ll get the horse home first and think about things.
“I think the plan is to continue hurdling. He wants a bit of cut in the ground.
“They watered at Huntingdon last night and we did think about it. He certainly wouldn’t have wanted it any faster. It will be hard to find suitable ground now.”
Humphrey Bogart is likely to have a break before resuming over hurdles in the autumn when he has his conditions.
“We just wanted to see him back and make sure we’d still got a horse,” said Ramsden.
“That was the idea for today, to show he’s still got it and he still retains his ability.
“Nicky has been pleased with how he’s been schooling. Bit by bit these things click into place.
“He deserves a little break now and we should have some exciting times come the autumn when the heavens open up again.
“He could be a dual-purpose horse, but the idea is to press on with the hurdling campaign.”