Taking the lead at the eighth flight, The Boss’s Dream again showed his resolution, running on strongly to deny the challenge of market leader Tambura and double King’s tally for the month.
There was a short-priced favourite in the opening Lighthorne Lamb Juvenile Hurdle in the shape of Fixe Le Kap who, after showing promise in three outings at Auteuil in France, made a winning British debut for trainer Nicky Henderson at Newbury.
Conceding weight to his seven rivals here, he easily doubled up, beating newcomer Three Colours Red by 28 lengths, The runner-up is no slouch, having won two races on the Flat in Ireland, but he couldn’t live with Fixe Le Kap, who went clear in the home straight to win easing down.
Winning owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede can now look forward to a tilt at the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Fixe Le Kap, who was made second favourite after his win. They could be doubled-handed in the race with another course winner Sceau Royal, who has gone on to post two more victories since his Warwick success in November.
Next up was the D W Clark Drainage Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong and it was bottom-weight As De Fer who triumphed for Dorset trainer Anthony Honeyball.
Course winner Paddy The Oscar again set out to make all the running, but he blundered badly at the 14th fence, allowing As De Fer to go to the front. Despite hitting the second-last fence, As De Fer came home the easiest of winners from favourite Willoughby Hedge.
“Winning like that will have given him plenty of confidence for the rest of the season” said Honeyball.
“Provided he comes out of the race in good shape, I’m tempted to turn him out again at Chepstow next Friday under a 7lb penalty.”
There were some promising horses in the British Stallion Studs EBF Mares´ “National Hunt” Novices´ Hurdle, with Surtee Du Berlais, twice a winner before running well to be third in a Listed race at Taunton, setting the standard.
With the previous day’s card at Bangor-on-Dee being abandoned, trainer Venetia Williams re-routed Buttercup to Warwick for her debut in this country.
But, the two could only fill the places behind Savingforvegas who, despite jumping to the left at the final flight, stepped up on her debt second over jumps at Fakenham to take full advantage of the 12lb in weight she was receiving from Surtee Du Berlais.
Mendip Express was bought out of Harry Fry’s stable for £75,000 and he was to recoup a small part of that when taking the Sandra Lloyd Memorial Willoughby De Broke Open Hunters´ Chase. Runner-up in last season’s Becher Chase at Aintree, he looked a class above the rest of the field and the 1-2 favourite had no trouble scoring for his new trainer Philip Hobbs.
Hobbs is currently lying second in the championship table behind Paul Nicholls and he strengthened his position when notching a double on the afternoon with 4-1 shot Shambougg, who took the concluding Deli Cafe Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race.
This was the 180th winner of the season for champion jockey elect Richard Johnson, taking to him just six short of his best-ever total in 2003-04.