Pauling thrilled by High Bridge
News of the action from Newbury where High Bridge made a winning start for Ben Pauling in the presence of John Ferguson.
High Bridge (black) made a winning start for Ben Pauling
The presence of Godolphin chief executive John Ferguson could have been a tip in itself for High Bridge, who made his first start since finishing sixth in the Champion Bumper a winning one in the Blackmore Building Maiden Hurdle at Newbury.
Now in the care of Ben Pauling, the five-year-old, who runs in the colours of his former trainer, showed he was ready to fire on his first run over hurdles under Ferguson's youngest son, Alex, when taking the extended two-mile contest by three lengths.
Pauling said of the 5/2 joint-favourite: "We are all obviously over the moon and it means a lot. John Ferguson and Alex Ferguson prepared this horse and sent him to me in magnificent condition.
"It is great for Alex to ride in a top-class novice hurdle so competently."
He added: "He jumped well, travelled well and stayed well to the line. We will keep him to this trip, but then come March if he is good enough he may want further."
While the 25/1 starting price of Sneaky Feeling may have suggested a win was not on the cards in the British Stallion Studs EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle, his neck success over odds-on favourite Bags Groove was not surprise to winning connections.
Sarah Hobbs, representing husband Philip, said: "The trainer got it right. I came here with five and Philip said that my best chance was Sneaky Feeling.
"He ran very well last time, but he thought he would improve for the run. He stays and he jumps well. He has a relaxed attitude.
"He nearly got squeezed against the rails and he could have backed out of it, but he pushed through and stayed on."
Three Faces West (7/2) provided further success for Hobbs and Richard Johnson when benefiting from an aggressive front-running ride in the Stan Conway Memorial Graduation Chase.
After bouncing back from a lacklustre seasonal return at Carlisle with victory from the front at Haydock last month, the eight-year-old obliged again under forcing tactics, scoring by 13 lengths.
Hobbs added: "Richard said it is very black and white with him. If there are any problems he will just chuck it in, so he is going to be difficult to place.
"He likes small fields and soft ground. He is not very old and I suppose you could look at something like the Scottish National, but the problem with that is there are a lot of runners."
Nicky Henderson has half an eye on the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for Beware The Bear after he made it two from two over fences in the CSP Chase.
One of three runners in the extended two-mile-seven prize for the Seven Barrows handler, the 5/2 favourite pulled out enough to defeat the fast-finishing Aurillac by a length.
Henderson said: "He is going the right way. We will just keep creeping and tipping away. His qualities are that he does stay and jump.
"He might be one to have in the back of the mind for the National Hunt Chase, but it is also in the back of my mind that he wants minding for another year."
Cosmeapolitan (1/3) provided Alan King with a late birthday present when making a winning introduction in the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Juvenile Hurdle.
The three-year-old suggested he could be as useful over hurdles as he is on the Flat when striking by seven lengths for the Barbury Castle handler, who turned 50 on Tuesday.
King said: "It is job done. He will be a lot sharper for that. He pitched on landing at the second-last, but he came back well. He got tired, but it was probably just a bit dead out there.
"He would be as nice as any of them at home. He might come back here for another juvenile at the end of the month."
The Fergal O'Brien-trained Cap Soleil (evens) barely broke sweat when making a winning debut in the Papa John's Pizza Newbury Fillies' 'Junior' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
And Cepage (4/1) showed why connections laid out 160,000 euros for him when taking the Powersolve Electronics Greatwood Charity Handicap Chase on his first start for Venetia Williams.
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