Henry Platt enjoyed a red-letter day when Fortunate George gave him a first career success in the Larkshill Engineering Handicap Hurdle at Warwick.
The 19-year-old took the opportunity on what was his 15th ride in public to get off the mark on Emma Lavelle’s charge.
The 10lb-claiming conditional beat seasoned professionals with a polished performance on Fortunate George (14-1), who crossed the line four and a half lengths to the good over Some Detail.
An emotional Platt said: “It’s a feeling I’ve been waiting for for a while. I’m grateful I finally got it.
“There was plenty of pace on and I was determined to be up there because I know what he likes now and that he relishes being near the front. I’m very happy and now I’ve felt it, I want more.”
He added: “Credit to Emma (Lavelle) and Barry Fenton for putting me up. It’s all down to them.
“I was based at a yard in Somerset for a while, but opportunities were lacking so I felt I’d move to a bigger yard and thankfully it’s working out now.”
Clondaw Castle could be going to Cheltenham for the second year running after landing a sound victory.
A creditable fourth in the Arkle Trophy last March, Tom George’s smart performer could be heading for one of the handicaps this time, thanks to his four-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Two Taffs.
Trying two and a half miles again after being well beaten on soft ground in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December, Clondaw Castle (11-2) returned to wining ways in the Paddy Power From The Horse’s Mouth Warwick Castle Handicap Chase.
“He’s bred to stay on fast ground and is going to be a three-miler,” said Noel George, assistant to his father.
“He has that touch of class which means he can win races over shorter and he wants better ground.
“I’d say we’ll be looking at the handicaps at Cheltenham. He’ll get entries and he’s a spring horse.
“We were disappointed last year at Aintree because he’d run so well at Cheltenham (when fourth in the Arkle), so he needs to be fresh as well.
Clondaw Castle was cut to 16-1 from 25s for the Brown Advisory Handicap Chase with Paddy Power.
Ask Himself (9-1) bounced back from defeat at Kelso to take the Cheltenham Preview Here Thursday 5th March Handicap Hurdle.
Michael Scudamore’s six-year-old scoped dirty when well beaten at odds-on in a maiden hurdle two months ago, but was back to himself as Brendan Powell steered him into lead two out to score by a length and a quarter from Pop The Cork.
“He’s been unlucky, he’s been second so many times. He disappointed last time at Kelso and scoped badly afterwards,” said Scudamore.
“We just gave him a bit of a freshen up and we always thought he’d be better on better ground. It’s nice to get his head in front. He’s a lovely horse to jump a fence with next season.”
Trincomalee (4-1) landed a deserved success after three placed efforts when holding Firak’s challenge by two lengths in the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Hurdle in the hands of Leighton Aspell.
It was his first try at two miles five furlongs, but trainer Lucy Wadham is likely to drop him back in distance, with Aintree a possible objective in the spring.
“He’s been running very well consistently and Leighton (Aspell) gave him a super ride today,” she said.
“I might want to drop him a little bit in trip now. He has got a Cheltenham entry, but I’ll take him out of that and we’ll try to find another one of these and then we might think about Aintree.”
The Goffs Bumper at Newbury next month beckons for the Jeremy Scott-trained Sizeable Sam (6-1) after Nick Scholfield rode him to victory in the Watch Irish Racing On Racing TV Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race.