Abolitionist could return to Aintree for the Randox Health Becher Chase next month after winning on his belated first run for trainer Dr Richard Newland.
Injury prevented the 10-year-old from running for the Claines handler since he left Ellmarie Holden’s stable in Ireland, after being unplaced at Killarney in August 2017.
Abolitionist had finished third in the Irish Grand National earlier that year and was bought by Newland as a Grand National contender.
That plan had to be scrapped, but it could be on the cards next spring after he made a triumphant return in the Pertemps Network (Supporting BTRC) Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier).
Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, Abolitionist (11-8 favourite) made most before pulling clear in the closing stages to score by 10 lengths from The Organist.
“I’m thrilled to bits. It showed he’s still a racehorse. Great effort from the team at home to get him straight today to run well and hopefully he can go on from that,” Newland said.
“We’ve had him for well over a year and he had injuries last year, which is why he couldn’t line up in the National, which was the plan.
“Hopefully we’ll run him in the Becher Chase in four weeks’ time, if he comes out of this race well.”
Newland won the Grand National in 2014 with Pineau De Re, another horse he acquired from Ireland. He feels the two horses have similarities.
“They both have a zest and a similar keen way of going about things,” said Newland.
“Abolitionist is probably a better jumper than Pineau De Re, who had a touch more class than Abolitionist in terms of his early years in what he could do over shorter distances, but they wouldn’t be too dissimilar.”
Twiston-Davies completed a quick double on Wholestone (2-1 joint-favourite) for his father, Nigel, in the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre Hurdle.
The feature on the card was the Rewards4Racing Handicap Chase, which went the way of the Philip Hobbs-trained, Tom O’Brien-ridden War Sound (11-2)