Babbo’s Boy made his first start for Ralph Beckett a winning one with an impressive display in the Betway Handicap at Haydock.
A winner of two of his nine races for Michael Bell in the first two years of his career, the Newmarket handler suggested a change of stables may benefit him after losing his form towards the end of last season.
Brought down the centre of the track by Robert Hornby, the four-year-old quickened away from a field of good handicappers in fine style, with the 16-1 chance coming home three lengths clear of Harrovian.
Beckett said: “He did well for Mike Bell last year, but Mike felt a change of scenery would do him the world of good.
“I think it’s fair to say, seeing that, that gelding him and the first-time headgear has also had an influence, too.
“Looking at the way he did that you’d have to think something like the John Smith’s Cup, those types of races, might suit him.”
Hughie Morrison’s Kipps was sent off favourite for the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap on the back of two promising runs last season, the second of which he won, but he was worn down in the final strides by Walkonby (9-1).
Kipps held an original Derby entry and though those have now been scrapped, the way he moved through the race suggests he still has a very bright future.
However, there are not many who can resist Silvestre de Sousa when he gets on a roll and in Mick Channon’s filly he had a willing partner, winning by a nose with the pair three and a quarter lengths clear.
Channon said: “I fancied Walkonby. She’s been working well and we’re very pleased with the horses, they’re all running well. I think she’s a very nice filly who’ll stay a mile and a half so we’ll see where we go from here.”