Trainer John Ferguson is eyeing "championship races" for El Namoose after the exciting youngster starred in a treble for Barry Geraghty at Huntingdon yesterday.
Having won a couple of bumpers without coming off the bridle since returning from a summer break, the five-year-old was a 1-5 favourite for his jumps debut in the Omni Security Mobile Patrol Services Novices’ Hurdle.
Ferguson’s charge travelled with panache throughout and although he was awkward two flights from the finish, it was not enough to stop him passing the post four lengths clear of Tingo In The Tale.
Ferguson said: “That was a nice start. There’s a National Hunt novice at Cheltenham on December 12.
“We’ll see how he is when we get him home, but that might be a possibility.
“On the basis he continues to do nothing wrong, championship races have to be considered.
“He’s got a lot of speed.”
El Namoose is an unchanged 33-1 shot with Paddy Power for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Neptune at Cheltenham next March.
Ferguson and Geraghty successfully teamed up in the bumper as 2-1 favourite Avenue Of Honour made a winning racecourse debut.
The middle leg of the rider’s treble was brought up by Volnay De Thaix, who blew his rivals away in the £25,000 Omni Security Services Michaelmas Hurdle.
Meanwhile, Jamie Spencer had a smile on his face despite finishing last in the Lingfield Park “Flat Jockeys” Handicap Hurdle on what might have been his final appearance as a rider in Britain.
The 34-year-old former champion is due to retire at the end of the 2014 to take up an advisory role with his bosses, Qatar Racing.
Spencer, who is from National Hunt stock, has a Cheltenham Festival victory on his CV in the 2002 Champion Bumper but his last attempt over obstacles resulted in a fall at Haydock in a similar event to this some nine years ago.
Lewes trainer Jim Best had revealed Spencer had contacted him for the ride on Lyssio (11-4), who was held up in last and could not make quite enough progress in the final stages to challenge the leading pack, which was headed by Declan Bates and The Sneezer (16-1).
When asked if retirement was imminent, Spencer said: “I’ve got rides in Hong Kong in December and I’m in Barbados for a jockeys’ challenge next week.
“I’m sure I’ll miss it. You enjoy the big days. We’ll see how it goes.”
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