Bright Forecast gained an emotional success when making a winning debut under rules in the Ladbrokes “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle at Newbury.
Sporting the colours of the late Nick Embiricos, which were famously carried to glory in the 1981 Grand National by Aldaniti, the four-year-old, who runs under the Aldaniti Partnership banner, flew from the back of the last in the two-mile prize to defeat Severano by a neck.
Embiricos died last week, aged 81, and winning trainer Ben Pauling said: “It is a hugely emotional win, as Nick was not just one of the biggest supporters of racing but he was a fantastic man. It means a huge amount to everyone.”
On the 20-1 winner, he added: “I’ve liked him at home, but finishing third of three in a point-to-point well beaten is not exactly the best first run.
“He looked green and missed hurdles, but he galloped very well to the line. Nico (de Boinville) said he was quite impressed from the back of the last.
“We will go and do something at a small track with a penalty, because he needs to learn. We don’t want to be throwing him in the deep end yet.”
Kateson is set for next month’s Challow Hurdle back at the Berkshire track after following up his last-time-out success at Chepstow in the Ladbrokes Novices’ Hurdle.
Lacey said of the 5-4 winner: “He was very impressive. Tom Scudamore was waxing lyrical about him. Whatever he achieves over hurdles is a bonus. Once he gets a fence he could potentially be anything. There is a lot to look forward to.
“He will come back for the Challow, that is the plan. It is very difficult to win with a penalty and I said to the owners don’t underestimate how challenging it is.
“Certainly he is the best on paper at the moment, but there are plenty coming through the ranks.”
A tilt at the Arkle could enter the equation further down the line for the Gary Moore-trained Knocknanuss after he routed his rivals by 17 lengths in the Ladbrokes Chase.
Moore said of the 11-2 winner: “If you can jump round here you can jump anywhere. He is going to be out of handicaps now so we will have to go down that route (graded race). It is vital he goes left-handed.
“They are ambitious owners and I would say he would have an entry in it (Arkle), but whether he is good enough, I don’t know.
“The thing that gives me encouragement is the horse he was going to beat at Fakenham (Movewiththetimes) ran well in Baron Alco’s race (Betvictor Gold Cup).”
Charlie Deutsch celebrated his most significant winner since being released from prison as he steered the Venetia Williams-trained Aso to victory on his first start in 397 days in the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase.
Deutsch, 22, was freed two and a half months into a 10-month custodial sentence in August, having pleaded guilty in May to dangerous driving while over the drink drive limit and escaping police custody following an incident in March.
Deutsch said: “It (returning to riding) was a bit different at first, but everyone has been really good to me and it is nice to be back to normal.”
On the Venetia Williams-trained winner, he added: “I’d been sitting on him at home and he had been flying. Venetia has done a great job to have him ready after a long time off.”
Williams hinted an outing in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup could be next on the agenda, a race he was priced up at 14-1 for by Ladbrokes.
She said: “He picked up an injury on his first run this time last year. He has been off since and to come back and put up a performance like that, I’m really thrilled.
“He is in the Caspian Caviar at Cheltenham, but the weights have not come out yet.”
Winning a seller at Stratford was the only target Tony Carroll had on his mind for Vive Le Roi earlier in the year – but those plans are now a distant memory after the seven-year-old claimed his third victory in four starts when taking the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle by half a length.
Carroll said of his 14-1 chance: “The race I had in mind for him was a selling hurdle at Stratford, but we did that and have moved forward from there!
“He ran very well at Cheltenham, he was just unfortunate to bump into the Ian Williams horse (First Assignment). He is a horse that just keeps improving and surprising.”