Nico de Boinville celebrated a winner on his return from a short spell on the sidelines when steering Whenyerreadyfreddie to victory in the Tindle Newspapers Novices’ Chase at Ascot.
Having been out of action since the end of last month with a thumb injury sustained in a fall at Chepstow, the Grade One-winning rider warmed up for Might Bite in the Betfair Chase on Saturday in perfect fashion.
The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old jumped out to his left, but that failed to prevent him following up his victory at the track on his previous start when holding chasing debutant Kildisart by half a length.
De Boinville said: “It felt great and there was no problem. I had to use my stick in the left hand and it held up absolutely great. It’s great to come back on a winner and thanks go to the boss for putting me back up on one like that.”
Henderson added of the 4-6 winner: “It’s a new trait (jumping to the left), I don’t know where that has come from. I don’t know if he has pulled a muscle or something else that has tweaked him.
“He did well to win considering he was giving that (ground) away. We will check him, but he is sound. I don’t know why he started doing that, as it got quite bad in the end.
“He got to 145 after his last run and I was thinking about the Close Brothers (at the Cheltenham Festival), but that is a 0-145. He does jump really well, but he can’t afford to do that.
“He does need good ground as he is not a winter horse and that is why we are on a bit of a roll at the moment. I might try get another run into him, then put him away for the spring.”
More big days look in store for Jolly’s Cracked It after he made his first start in almost two years a winning one in the Coutts Handicap Hurdle.
The Harry Fry-trained nine-year-old returned from a 706-day lay-off to record his fourth victory at the Berkshire track when carrying top-weight to glory by six lengths.
Fry said of the 7-1 winner: “We are a month short of two years since he last ran. He has been a great horse for us and has been well looked after by our team at home and it is credit to all of them.
“He has been back in since June and we have taken it slowly, we’ve just been waiting for the ground and there was no better place to bring him.
“We will definitely come back for what was the Ladbroke. The handicapper gave him a chance of 138, but we will enjoy this as it has been nearly two years off the track.”
Following the race jockey Jonjo O’Neill junior was taken to Frimley Park Hospital for precautionary X-rays after suffering a fall aboard the James Nash-trained Scheu Times.
Lizzie Kelly moved another step closer to riding out her claim after giving her mother and trainer Jane Williams her first success at the track courtesy of Moonlighter in the Royal Ascot Racing Club ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle.
Kelly said: “That’s 11 and counting left!”
On the 6-4 winner, she added: “Bangor was too tight for him and we wanted to come somewhere where we can use that stride that he has got. We will definitely take a long-term approach with him.”
Robert Walford can look forward to giving Mr Medic a tilt at the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham later in the month after a three-length success on his return to action in the Waitrose & Partners Handicap Chase.
Walford said of the 20-1 winner: “He was very good. He jumped great and James Best gave him a great ride, as always. I thought he would run well, but I thought he would need it a bit.
“I think we will run in the Caspian Caviar in three weeks’ time, as this is his right trip. This was his prep run for that and it has gone better than expected.”
The switch to front-running tactics seemed to have the desired effect on the Paul Nicholls-trained Favorito Buck’s (12-1), who ran out a two-and-a-half-length winner of the Davidstow Handicap Chase.