Jockey Tom Scudamore was full of praise for Edmund Kean after the seven-year-old made a successful debut over fences in the Leicester Annual Members Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at the East Midlands venue.
Useful, though lightly raced, over hurdles, David Pipe’s charge transferred his promising work on the schooling ground with a superb round of jumping as he disposed of the opposition in convincing manner.
Owned by Dai Walters and James and Jean Potter, whose colours were also carried to victory by Mountainous in the Coral Welsh Grand National, Edmund Kean (3-1) galloped on resolutely to defeat Whats Happening by two and a half lengths.
“I schooled him earlier in the week and I always thought whatever he did over hurdles was a bonus because he’s always jumped fences very well at home,” said Scudamore.
“He was good all the way round, and certainly was over the last four fences. He showed a willing attitude after that as well.
“He handles soft ground and he’s got a bit of class as well, so I wouldn’t be afraid of running him on better ground. He’s a nice prospect.
“The owners have had a good couple of weeks, so it’s nice to keep the ball rolling for them.”
Massena had to work hard to overcome Un Anjou and justify even-money favouritism in the Groby Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Un Anjou landed with a narrow lead after the last but Massena found reserves for Aidan Coleman and got back up to score by three-quarters of a length.
“Jumping the first two or three fences it looked like he was jumping the puissance wall at Wembley,” said trainer Venetia Williams, who also owns the seven-year-old.
“He’s got so much scope and I’m delighted with that and he’s for sale.
“He’s young so hopefully there’s more to come.”
Carli King defied top weight in gritty fashion to get off the mark over fences at the fifth attempt in the Hose Thorns Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old was continuing the fine recent run of trainer Caroline Bailey, who had endured a lean start to the winter.
The 5-2 favourite, ridden by Tom Messenger, shrugged off the intentions of fellow pacesetter Thedreamstillalive from the second-last to register a 10-length triumph.
Bailey said: “All our horses have been wrong but we shut down for two weeks and they’ve bounced back.
“We had a dire time for three months with no winners, but the break has put them back right.”
Of Carli King, Bailey said: “He’s in a lowish grade but he’s still got the option of a novice chase.
“Staying chasing will be his forte. He’s a point-to-pointer so he will stay.”
There was a run-in of four furlongs because the last two flights were omitted in all hurdles races, which probably helped Flat performer Hint Of Mint (10-1) get off the mark in the Nomad Novices’ Hurdle.
Leading over a furlong out, the Nick Williams-trained five-year-old came home in good style by six lengths from Uhlan Bute under Wayne Hutchinson.
“This wasn’t really the plan,” said breeder Sandie Newton, who owns the five-year-old with her husband, David.
“We were going to run him over hurdles and on the Flat in the spring, but he seems to be getting better over hurdles, so we’ll see.”
Scotsbrook Legend (25-1) made a triumphant return after 377 days off through injury in the Chieftain Handicap Hurdle.
Peter Carberry was always happy on the six-year-old mare, who swept the favourite Santo Thomas aside in the straight to win by 19 lengths – much to the delight of trainer Shaun Lycett.
“She split a pastern last year. We had her operated on and had screws inserted. We’ve got a new gallop which has been great and the horses have been running well,” said the Cheltenham handler.
The Jugopolist (11-4) ground out a dour victory under 10lb claimer Paul O’Brien in the Dove Selling Hurdle.
Leading some way out, the Rebecca Curtis-trained gelding kept up the gallop to beat Stow by three and three-quarter lengths.
There was spirited bidding at the subsequent auction which saw the winner bought by Melton Mowbray trainer John Cornwall for 7,200 guineas.