Kempton glory for Top Notch
Top Notch claimed his first win of the season after emerging triumphant in the 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton on Saturday.
The Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old only made his seasonal reappearance when finishing third in last month's JLT Hurdle at Ascot after a bad reaction to a flu jab delayed his start to the campaign.
However, the Simon Munir and Isaac Soude-owned gelding showed no signs of rustiness on Saturday as he claimed the Listed prize by five lengths from nearest rival Black Corton.
Henderson was pleased with Top Notch's efforts and is hopeful the gelding is now fully recovered from his illness.
"He is very special. Simon and Isaac haven't had the greatest run recently, but when you've got a horse like this you always know he will get you out of trouble," Henderson was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
"He was very sick before Christmas, only because he reacted to a flu vaccination. Ascot brought him on nicely, and there we go."
A return to Ascot now appears to be Top Notch's next port of call, with the Ryanair Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival also on the agenda.
Looking ahead to future plans, Henderson added: "We were thinking Ascot Chase, then the Ryanair. That is the obvious road."
Tom McGarry completed his sports journalist degree in 2011,and has since has become an integral part of the editorial and audio team. He is passionate about all things sport, particularly football, and is a lifelong supporter of his hometown club Carlisle United.