Top Notch off the mark over fences
Top Notch opened his account over fences in the Highflyer/Million In Mind 4-Y-O & 5-Y-O Novices' Chase at Warwick with the minimum of fuss.
Top Notch: Warwick winner
A smart hurdler who was narrowly touched off in the Fighting Fifth last season, he had gone close on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter, form which has already been franked by subsequent Cheltenham winner Le Prezien.
Sent off the 1-8 favourite, Nicky Henderson's youngster coasted around in the hands of Daryl Jacob before quickening clear in the straight to beat Pemba by 15 lengths.
Top Notch holds an entry in the Fighting Fifth again and while there is a possibility he could return over hurdles at some stage, he would only run at Newcastle on Saturday week if the ante-post favourite in the same Simon Munir and Isaac Souede ownership, Sceau Royal, did not run.
Their racing manager, Anthony Bromley, said: "It was a nice, confidence-boosting clear round, everyone was very pleased with everything.
"He liked the soft ground and jumped nicely throughout, it was just what we wanted.
"He'll be kept in the Fighting Fifth at the five-day stage on Monday, but the owners also have the favourite for that in Sceau Royal.
"At this stage Sceau Royal is first choice for that race so while Top Notch could run, he'd only run if for some reason Sceau Royal didn't.
"He certainly didn't have a hard race."
Jacob had earlier won on Ben Case's Lilly Of The Moor (7-1) in the Whitson Bloodstock Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase.
Paddy Brennan brought up his 1,000th winner in Britain and Ireland when Colin's Sister forged clear in the Thoroughbred Breeders Association Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
Trained by the in-form Fergal O'Brien, who has struck up a good relationship with Brennan, the 13-8 favourite was following up a win at Chepstow last month.
Brennan told Racing UK: "It's unbelievable. My ambition ever since I came to England was to ride 1,000 winners and win a Gold Cup and I've done that now."
Alan King's Midnight Maestro (7-4) maintained his unbeaten record under Barry Geraghty in the PJ & KR Smith-Maxwell Horse Ambulances "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
Bought by JP McManus after winning his only start at Doncaster in a bumper, he quickened
up smartly to win going away by a length and a half.
"When the other horse (Desaray) kicked clear, I thought we had plenty to do but he made ground gradually and I was quite pleased with that," said King.
"I thought he had a bit to do but he's won cosily.
"I've always liked him. He'd only had one run when he won at Doncaster and then he went to the sales.
"Thankfully JP bought him and left him with me.
"He'll stay further but I think we'll stick to two miles for now and go somewhere with a penalty.
"He works with Yanworth every day but Yanworth is one of those who saves his best for the track, he never shows much at home."
King was also on the mark with Royal Plaza (5-2 favourite) in the Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle under the capable William Featherstone.
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