Dynaste delivers for Pipe
Dynaste's standing as one of David Pipe's great hopes for this season and beyond remains undiminished after his latest win at Newbury.
Capable of making the mighty Big Buck's at least break sweat in staying hurdles last season, Dynaste made a smooth transition to fences when winning a good race at Cheltenham on his reappearance and was accordingly sent off the 4-9 favourite for the Fuller's London Pride Novices' Chase.
Unfortunately this Grade Two event ceased to be a meaningful contest when Valmari spoiled an exceptional round of jumping when falling in the lead at the fourth last and Tom Scudamore could allow Dynaste to coast home at his leisure.
The race has been won by such luminaries as Bobs Worth, Denman and Jair du Cochet in recent years but Pipe has not yet decided where his grey will end up in the spring.
He said: "His jumping was neat and accurate. It probably didn't tell you a lot more but he's done it very nicely. Whether his end target will be two and a half or three miles, we don't know yet but he's safely on to the next step.
"He does go slightly left but the Feltham Chase (Kempton, December 26) will have to come into the mix."
Paddy Power offer Dynaste at 6-1 for the RSA Chase and 7-1 for the Jewson at the next Festival.
Fair Along has long since graduated from rising star to old favourite and the diminutive veteran picked up his first victory in over two years in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle qualifier.
Capable of Graded level success over both hurdles and fences, Fair Along was returned at an incredible 33-1.
Trainer Philip Hobbs said: "He's an amazing horse. You wouldn't have thought when we bought him as a three-year-old that he'd be here seven years later.
"Every time we talk about retirement he goes and runs well. I suppose the final of this might be something for him - I had him in the Hennessy but he's so small he struggles to jump fences in soft ground."
The other potential champion on the card came in the final race when Oliver Sherwood's Puffin Billy (11-8 favourite) extended his unbeaten record to three with ease in the Inkerman London "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle.
"It's great to have an exciting horse - I haven't had one since (top 90s hurdler) Large Action," said Sherwood.
"The Tolworth Hurdle must come into the equation and that's the obvious race to go for."
Sarah Humphrey produced her first Newbury winner through Vasco D'Ycy (7-1) in the Q Associates Juvenile Hurdle and the Cambridgeshire trainer has high hopes for the smartly-turned-out gelding.
"His owner Paul Chapman wanted to find a horse who was good enough to go for the Saturday meetings," said Humphrey.
"He seemed to have a good idea of jumping when we first schooled him and we just ran him at Ludlow to give him a run - the ground was too good for him and he needed a more galloping track."
Bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley, who bought him, suggested the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in late December could be an option.
Harry Fry continues to make an excellent impression in his first season training under his own name as he collected his second winner of the meeting through Dancingtilmidnight (9-4) in the British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
"She had to do it the hard way," said Fry. "We knew there might be no pace, but she had to lead for a long time.
"We thought she would stay from her three-mile point-to-point form and the next obvious step is a Listed hurdle at Haydock in about three weeks."
Fry went on: "That's our fifth winner from 21 runners and I couldn't be happier."
Tim Vaughan was full of praise for Michael Byrne after his accomplished waiting ride on Wings Of Smoke (12-1) in the Sanderson Weatherall Ladies Are Ageless Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase.
"I thought that was a brilliant ride - Michael has a very tactical mind and this is a horse that needs holding up," said Vaughan.
"I asked him to try to lead at the last and he did exactly that."
Alan King's Bless The Wings (7-2) is not short on courage as he battled past another old friend, Mahogany Blaze, in the Sportingbet Open Handicap Chase.