Torpillo advanced his JCB Triumph Hurdle claims in maintaining his unbeaten record with a facile success in the Unibet Juvenile Hurdle at Sandown.
After a successful British debut at the Esher track last month, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained four-year-old had little problem in following that up, crossing the line 22 lengths clear of Fukuto, who passed Paddy The Chef for second on the climb to the line.
The Simon Munir- and Isaac Souede-owned gelding was left unchanged at 14-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle by Paddy Power.
Twiston-Davies said of the 30-100 winner: “We don’t know what he has beaten with the second-favourite going at the first, but that eased our problem.
“In that ground he is a bit like Bristol De Mai in that he has a high cruising speed that puts them to the sword. He has got lots of pace.
“That was very nice and he has done it well. Just walking in with Anthony (Bromley, owners’ racing manager) we were thinking about Grand National Trial day at Haydock (Victor Ludorum).
“It should be soft ground again, so that should be ideal.”
Larry moved a step closer to an outing at the Cheltenham Festival with a first victory over fences in the 32Red Handicap Chase.
Having suffered a fall on his previous start at Plumpton, the six-year-old completed a quickfire double for trainer Gary Moore and his son Jamie with a slick round of jumping to defeat the running-on Darius Des Bois by seven lengths.
Moore senior said of the 7-2 winner: “It was a tired fall at Plumpton and he clattered straight into the fence.
“After his first two jumps he jumped beautifully after that. I was slightly concerned coming here, as he didn’t over-impress jumping at home, but he has done plenty of it and knows what he is doing.”
He added: “I would hope we would look to find one more run in a novice chase with him, then probably aim at the two-and-a-half-mile novice handicap chase at Cheltenham.”
Darebin (7-2) got the ball rolling for the father and son team when landing a third win at the track in holding off Capeland by half a length in the Unibet Handicap Chase.
Moore said: “It’s just the place where races suit him. The owners love coming here, as they live locally.
“He is what he is – a 120 horse through and through. He is no better and no worse. I was scratching my head whether to run here as he was 6lb out of the handicap at the five-day stage.
“I’m very thankful it cut up.”
Monsieur Lecoq gave trainer Jane Williams and her daughter Lizzie Kelly their first winner at Sandown when running away with the 32Red.com Handicap Hurdle.
Taking over from long-time leader Our Merlin from two out, Monsieur Lecoq (11-4 favourite) powered up the hill to come home nine lengths clear.
“We like this horse a lot. Things didn’t go well for him last season and he went to France and fell over that day, so to get here has taken quite a few goes,” said the winning trainer.
“It was really fantastic. I thought he’d like the ground and I’m really pleased with that.”