King Crac's Newbury choice

Alan King can hope for continued support from powerful owner John Hales after coaxing a first career win from Cracboumwiz at Newbury.

Alan King can hope for continued support from powerful owner John Hales after coaxing a first career win from Cracboumwiz at Newbury.

Having shown useful form for Heather Dalton, the gelding had only four previous runs under his belt – despite reaching the age of eight – and this was his first for 666 days.

Hales, whose yellow colours have been made famous by the likes of One Man and Azertyuiop, sent him to Barbury Castle and reaped the rewards in the First Great Western Maiden Hurdle.

An 11-2 shot, Cracboumwiz battled well under Robert Thornton to nail 5-4 favourite Qozak by a short head on the line.

“Second runner for Mr Hales and first winner so that’s very pleasing,” said King.

“The first horse was no good, so it’s our first placing of any sort.

“He’s very well bred – a three-parts brother to Azertyuiop. He has had problems with his legs so let’s

just hope he stays in one piece.”

King and Thornton later added the EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle through Bakbenscher (11-2).

Star of the afternoon was Zaynar, whose emphatic jumping debut moved him to clear favouritism in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Despite the protestations of trainer Nicky Henderson, Zaynar had been a notable ante-post mover and was already top-priced for the four-year-old Cheltenham crown with some companies.

He was the 11-8 favourite for the Collingwood Team Services’ Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle and Barry Geraghty did not need to be too forceful to pull four lengths clear of Walkon.

“I don’t know where the confidence came from,” said Henderson. “He has always jumped beautifully but does take an awful lot of work. He had a right good blow on the back straight and I am a little surprised how well he picked up.

“What has always been the plan is the four-year-old hurdle on Victor Chandler day at Ascot.”

Paddy Power go 9-2 for the Triumph, William Hill 8-1.

Nigel Twiston Davies scoffed at suggestions his yard was under a cloud when 15-8 favourite Tricky Trickster obliged in the Coolmation Novices’ Chase.

The Naunton trainer was 19 days and 36 runners without a winner at the start of the afternoon.

“It’s ridiculous – there have only been about five proper racing days in that space of time and

everyone has been saying we’re out of form,” said Twiston-Davies.

“We knew there was nothing wrong with the horses.”

Go For One (11-4 favourite) followed up last month’s victory at Ludlow by cantering 19 lengths clear

in the SFC Handicap Chase and may reappear somewhere on Boxing Day.

Billingshurst trainer Laurence Wells struck at a Grade One venue as Classic Role (9-1) displaced Russian Flag on the run-in for the Powersolve Electronics Greatwood Charity Handicap Chase.

Charlie Mann’s Eastern Paramour (5-1) made a promising racecourse bow to steal the EBF Kentford Racing Fillies’ “Junior” Standard National Hunt Flat Race.

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