John Ferguson's exciting Flat recruit Whispering Gallery maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles with a smooth victory at Wetherby.
Winner of the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan for Godolphin in March 2011, the seven-year-old was then not seen for the best part of two years before making his jumping debut at the far less glamorous surroundings of Leicester in January, justifying odds-on favouritism with a smooth display.
Whispering Gallery was 8-15 favourite to follow up in theconistonhotel.com Ideal For Business & Pleasure Novices' Hurdle and though his hurdling was not always fluent, he was travelling best on the home turn and cantered clear to beat Bobowen by six lengths in the hands of Denis O'Regan.
Ferguson said: "I was very happy with him today. He had undoubted talent on the Flat and for an older horse, I think he's made the transition to hurdling very well. He's had his two races now and although he made one or two little mistakes, I thought today was overall a more professional performance."
Whispering Gallery holds entries in all three novice hurdles at next month's Cheltenham Festival and is also engaged in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Ferguson added: "I think he's ready to go into a more competitive race now, so we'll see how he takes this race and then make a decision on where he goes in the next week or so. I hope when he gets into a race with a stronger pace and on better ground, he could be quite exciting."
Coverholder (5-4 favourite) completed a quick-fire hat-trick under Jonathan England in the Watch Racing UK On Sky 432 Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. Bought for 6,000 guineas by Sue Smith after winning a Catterick seller over Christmas, the six-year-old is unbeaten for new connections.
England said: "He's a lovely horse. I was lucky enough to ride him first time at Doncaster, again at Kelso last week and again today. He's honest, he jumps and he keeps galloping, which is what you want. He's big enough to jump a fence."
Donald McCain's newcomer Diamond King (2-1 favourite) looks destined for better things after making a sparkling debut in the concluding bumper, annihilating his rivals by 16 lengths and more in the hands of Jason Maguire.
John Wade and Wilson Renwick claimed the Tennants Antique & Fine Art Auctioneers Handicap Hurdle with 2-1 favourite Forty Crown, while David Pipe's southern raider No Secrets (2-1) claimed top honours in the Yorkshire Post Ladies Evening 30th May Handicap Chase under Tom Scudamore.
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