Cape Gentleman had an easy day when cruising to victory in the Watch Racing Free Online At Ladbrokes Beginners at Punchestown.
Now trying fences, he was a useful runner on the flat with a rating of 101. Also a Grade Two winner over hurdles in the Dovecote at Kempton last season, he completed his attempt over fences for the first time with ease, but only after main rival Ballyadam, suffered a crashing fall at the first fence.
Henry de Bromhead’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up Ballyadam, was the bookies favourite with Cape Gentleman the 7/4 2nd Fav.
After the fall, jockey Brian Hayes only needed to steer him round and jump all the obstacles to win. However, a second-last fence error could have cost the race but he managed to gather his momentum again for an easy victory.
“It’s a great start and I couldn’t ask for any more,” said trainer Emmet Mullins.
“He had a good round of jumping, a little novicey mistake at the second-last but hopefully he should learn from that and it’ll stand to him going forward.
“It’s good to see he took to fences and he could be an exciting novice going forward for the rest of the season.
“I haven’t thought of any future plans, but he’s a high-quality horse and we’ll be looking at all the graded options anyway.
“He won his maiden hurdle on proper heavy ground here during the winter, but if we have options we’ll definitely be picking better ground.”
He went on: “It’s probably more of a worry whether we can go back left-handed again after Leopardstown last year. I’d like to forgive him the run, but time will tell.
“He has a high cruising speed so I told Brian to buck out and go as fitness was on our side and he’s a slick jumper in the main.
“Trip-wise I’d say he’ll be very versatile and I’d have no qualms about going up in trip. The Ascot Stakes was two and a half on the Flat and he was still galloping at the line (when fifth to Reshoun), he was actually caught flat-footed that day.
“He’s an exciting horse and we have plenty of options.”