V for victory
Alan King completed a double at Newbury courtesy of Valdez and Vendor.
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Valdez's fluent start to life over fences continued apace in the bet365.com Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
Alan King's 2/1 chance, who has a prominent white face, took time to get going on his first chase start at Exeter, but he jumped beautifully for Robert Thornton here and came home in splendid isolation by 24 lengths.
The 5/4 favourite Black River was out of the race when coming down on the back straight.
"Fences are helping him to settle a lot better," said King. "I'd like to keep him at around two miles and we might look at Kempton over Christmas now."
Valdez was given a first show of 20/1 for the Racing Post Arkle at the Cheltenhem Festival by Betfred.
The double was brought up by Vendor who appears to have turned over a new leaf judged by his performance in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.
Once a great hope for Barbury Castle who was third in last year's Fred Winter, the grey produced a string of dismal efforts last season.
A 16/1 chance here and deserted by Thornton in favour of Batonnier, Vendor gave Jack Doyle a fine passage through and powered two and a half lengths clear.
"He was never right last season and we sent him off to Bristol where they did all sorts of things with him including a wind operation," said King.
"He worked well, but if he didn't do something on the racecourse today, that was it. He'll stay hurdling as he hated chasing."
Newmarket-based Don Cantillon remains a shrewd operator on his day and his As I Am strung her rivals out all over Berkshire in the opening TBA Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
Capable of rattling off a four-timer during the summer, the 11/2 chance had lost her sequence when second on her reappearance at Wincanton last month but Conor Shoemark resumed front-running tactics and was never threatened.
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As I Am began to pull further away at the last and ended up finishing nine lengths in front of The Pirate's Queen, with Willie Mullins' Vicky De L'Oasis only third.
"That was fabulous," said Cantillon. "She did a really good piece of work on the Al Bahathri gallop and we knew she was in great shape. Black type was the aim, and the next race is a Listed race at Haydock over two and a half miles."
Tatenen has been set some tough tasks in the past but he was well capable of winning the bet365 Handicap Chase (for the Fulke Walwyn Trophy) by eight lengths.
Carrying the colours of Andy Stewart, Richard Rowe's gelding has failed to complete in the last two Grand Nationals and missed the cut for this month's Paddy Power Gold Cup.
The 14/1 chance sneaked into contention under a quiet Leighton Aspell and soon stifled the challenge of eventual runner-up and 9-2 favourite Carrigmorna King.
Stewart said: "I'm pleased he has won as competitive a handicap as you get here. He's in the December Gold Cup at Cheltenham - we can look at that - but there is also an option on Welsh National day at Chepstow."
Rowe said: "There is a race at Ascot in January he is on a three-timer in - it was abandoned last year."
Sky Bet cut the winner to 16/1 from 40s for the December Gold Cup.
The closing bet365 Handicap Chase for the Jim Joel Memorial Trophy was won by Filbert (6/1) for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson.