On a day when favourites dominated at the two jumps meetings in Britain, Romain De Senam put a spell in the doldrums behind him when making the most of a drop in class for a confidence-boosting success in the featured prize at Taunton.
Having contested the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on his previous start, the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old gained his first win in more than a year in the HR Dept “Outs-Horsed”Employer’s Employment Advice Handicap Chase.
Racing over two miles and seven furlongs for the first time in his career, the 11-10 chance found plenty to see off Fox Appeal by two lengths and become the third of five favourites to win on the card.
The haul for market leaders at the Somerset track added to the four from six races at Doncaster.
Delighted assistant trainer Harry Derham said: “He was back down in class and he couldn’t have done more than what he did, but it is good all the same.
“Last time he was chasing Frodon on soft ground and probably got to the stage where he was thinking he couldn’t win.
“He was much more suited by the ground today and travelled better. He will never be a champion, but he is good at his level. Hopefully he will take a lot of confidence out of that.
“Harry (Cobden) rode him at Market Rasen first time out this season and said he wanted three miles. He is the type of horse that will win races between two and a half and three if the races look right.”
Harry Whittington celebrated his first winner since the turn of the year after Khage went one better than last time out when making virtually all to run out a six-length winner of the Somerset Sight Maiden Hurdle.
The Lambourn handler said of the 10-11 scorer: “That was good, although I was a bit worried turning in. Gavin (Sheehan) said he was flat out over two miles on that ground.
“On quick ground I would step him up in trip, but two miles on soft ground would be fine. From his last run he was much more settled today.
“It was a pleasing performance and the main thing is he starting to become a racehorse.
“He had that fall at Bangor and Nico (de Boinville) said he was making a noise. We did his wind and since then he is now much more confident, as he realises he can breathe.
“He has got plenty of ability and talent. He will go novice chasing next season and we will campaign him quietly and not over-face him this season.”
Bookmakers at the Somerset track were spared from a complete disaster following the three-and-a-half-length victory secured by the Emma Lavelle-trained Tierra Verde (7-2) in the concluding Somerset Sights Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
Even so, Betway’s Alan Alger lamented: “While turnover is obviously not as high at the quieter meetings during the week, nine out of 12 favourites prevailed at Taunton and Doncaster and that proved very costly for us.
“The worst thing is that they were all backable prices, with 2-5 the shortest price of the nine, and many of them were knitted into multiples across the cards.
“Christmas may have had us cheering, but the way things are going, 2019 could be a year for the punters.”