Danny Whizzbang looks destined for big things after making a winning debut over fences to maintain his unbeaten record under rules in the Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase at Newbury.
Making his first start in 270 days, the six-year-old stayed on strongly after going on two out to defeat odds-on favourite Reserve Tank by four lengths – giving trainer Paul Nicholls his eighth victory in the Grade Two contest.
Nicholls said of his Harry Cobden-ridden 9-2 shot: “It was a very nice surprise. I wanted to run him in a beginners’ chase to get some experience and I thought I was chucking him in at the deep end today.
“I thought he would need the run and experience, but he must be very good. He is a big, strong, old-fashioned type.
“His breathing wasn’t good, but we sorted that out. He surprised me there – I thought he would run an OK race, but I thought he would finish third and would improve and run in a beginners’ chase over Christmas and carry on from there.
“He will improve massively, as he hadn’t had a run. We brought him here a fortnight ago for a gallop and Sam Twiston-Davies said for one of mine he didn’t feel very fit.”
The Ditcheat handler has not ruled out running Danny Whizzbang – who was introduced at 16-1 for the RSA Chase by Paddy Power, Coral and Ladbrokes – at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
He added: “He looks like he may well be that horse (RSA type) as all he can do is get better.
“He jumped well and Harry said he felt like he was riding a hunter all the way round, as he just kept popping away, and that he turned down the straight and just took off.
“I hadn’t made a plan as I thought he would run in a beginners’ chase over Christmas, but that (Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase) is possible. If it was soft, why not?
“He is the sort of horse that might keep surprising us.”