Emma Lavelle’s Shang Tang made a winning start to his chasing career when taking the Sky Sports Racing On Virgin 535 Novices’ Chase at Newton Abbot.
Ridden by Tom Bellamy, the gelding started at 5-2 and jumped well throughout to cross the line two lengths ahead of Nicky Henderson’s evens favourite Hooper.
Whilst Bellamy’s mount was sufficiently clear of the field to avoid being hampered, it was the third-placed Ruthless Article who suffered from interference after Hooper hung badly on the run in and therefore triggered a stewards’ inquiry – though the placings remained unchanged.
“I was schooling for a circuit and then it fell our way,” Bellamy told Sky Sports Racing.
“He was a little bit brave earlier on, so I was quite conscious to get him into the boards at a few and teach him a bit.
“He’ll be a lot better on better ground as well, he found that quite hard work. He’s exciting and he’s going to be a better chaser than he was a hurdler.”
Flammarion made his debut run over obstacles a success when taking the Jan And Jeff Silver Wedding Anniversary Novices’ Hurdle by two and a quarter lengths under Tom Scudamore.
The five-year-old was previously campaigned on the Flat by David O’Meara, starting his career with a winning run in a bumper before turning his attention to the Flat code entirely and then joining David Pipe.
“He ran well last time but he’s a little bit quirky,” Scudamore said after the 4-1 victory.
“I think he’s going the right way and he’s won well today.”
Ian Williams’ Fifrelet also made a successful transition to hurdling when taking the Bryan And Ilva Westcott Memorial Maiden Hurdle as the 4-9 favourite under Liam Harrison.
The six-year-old had run in three bumpers previously, winning twice and finishing second once, and converted that form over hurdles to produce an impressive nine-length victory.
“He’s a horse that’s always raced a little bit behind the bridle,” Harrison said.
“Ian’s done a great job to get him to win two bumpers because he’s a proper galloper, he’s a National Hunt type.
“I was pretty confident but I was active enough in the saddle because he’s actually very raw and green, although he’s had three runs in bumpers.
“He’s a stayer and you wouldn’t want it to turn into a sprint, so we had to commit.”
Montys Medoc was the winner of the Watch Sky Sports Racing In HD Handicap Hurdle for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden, prevailing by a length and three-quarters at 3-1.
“He’s jumped well today and he’s improving,” Cobden said.
“The last day he ran, it was obviously quite a long time ago and he’s had a break since then, but he was landing behind and taking a few out of the ground, so it’s just nice to see that he’s matured over the summer and come back better and stronger.”
Nicholls and Cobden made it a double when Mick Pastor claimed the Follow @attheraces On Twitter Handicap Chase as the 13-8 favourite.
Adrian Wintle’s Espinator showed his consistency when taking the Racing Partnership Novices’ Handicap Hurdle as 7-4 favourite under Kevin Brogan.
“He’s a pleasure, he’s an armchair ride really,” Brogan said of the half-length triumph.
“He popped away lovely, he handled the ground a lot better than I thought he would as well.
“We knew going into the race that there’d be a good bit of pace on, he’s one that struggles to find fifth gear so I knew the trip was going to work to our favour.”
Elsewhere on the card the opening Talk Tidy Marketing Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle went the way of Arty Campbell (11-1).