Good Ball followed in the mighty hoofprints of dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star with a successful British debut for Paul Nicholls at Newbury.
It was on this same card 16 years ago that Nicholls’ modern-day great first announced himself with victory in a novice chase on his arrival from France – and Good Ball duly scored in the MansionBet App “Introductory” Hurdle, initiating a treble for the 11-time champion trainer.
Looking booked for a place at best over the last in the extended two-mile contest, the 9-4 favourite rallied gamely up the run-in under Harry Cobden before forging clear late on to defeat Cascova by a length and a quarter
Nicholls said: “At home he had been very keen, hence why he had the hood on, but he has got better and he doesn’t need the hood on because he settled well. We learnt a lot about him there.
“He is a huge horse. I’ve not trained him that hard since he came over from France.
“That was a real pleasant surprise in lots of ways.
As with Kauto Star, the Ditcheat handler believes Good Ball – who was introduced at 33-1 for the Triumph Hurdle by Paddy Power – will come into his own over fences.
“Ultimately he will make a lovely three-mile chaser one day, and he nearly wants three miles now.
“I just wanted to give a couple of runs to see where we were with him. He will go chasing fairly soon in the autumn, that’s his job. ”
Jamie Bargary gave his season a timely boost with victory aboard Amateur in the MansionBet’s Best Odds Guaranteed Mandarin Handicap Chase.
The 26-year-old, who this month returned from a seven-week spell on the sidelines with an elbow injury, celebrated his first winner since August when steering the John Flint’s 10-1 shot home by a neck.
He said: “I’ve had a relatively slow start after the re-start, then I got hurt and I was out for seven weeks – and it has been slow since then.
“I’m in the middle of a re-building process. If winners like that come along the way, I’m happy to take it.”
He added: “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t in front too soon, and luckily enough I had one to aim at.
“My lad was very brave over the last and put his head down.
“You could see as soon as he hit the front he started having a look about, and I just had to keep him up to his work.”
Angus Cheleda came in for plenty of praise following his ride on Calva D’Auge, who formed the middle leg of Nicholls’ haul in the MansionBet’s Watch And Bet Handicap Hurdle, which the 5-2 shot claimed by three-quarters of a length.
Nicholls said: “He showed a good attitude and he stayed well. He didn’t get much further than two (miles) last season but he does now he has relaxed a bit.
“Angus is a great lad who rides him, and the 7lb off him was handy there. He is a great person to have in the yard at home.”
Bravemansgame completed Nicholls’ hat-trick, and a double for Cobden, when taking the step up to Grade One company in his stride with a 10-length victory in the feature MansionBet Challow Novices’ Hurdle.
David Pipe can begin to become more ambitious again with Listed bumper winner Panic Attack, who resumed her progression with a three-and-a-half-length success in the MansionBet Cheers To 2021 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
After the 100-30 success, winning trainer Pipe said: “We were hoping she might do something like that at Cheltenham last time – but she made a mistake at the first, and I thought she was beaten after that.
“We thought this was the ideal race for her, and it was a confidence booster for the horse and trainer.”