'It's not quite the Derby' - season's first juvenile hurdle goes to Koi Dodville
It does not have the same prestige as the fellow race restricted to three-year-olds at Epsom on Saturday, but Koi Dodville showcased his claims as a promising talent in the first juvenile hurdle of the 2021-22 jumps season.
The son of French Fifteen was a winner when trained in France before moving to David Pipe, and he made a perfect start in Britain with an impressive five-and-a-half-length success in the 2m Derby Day Juvenile Hurdle.
Pipe joked: "It's not quite the Derby but everything counts!
"We claimed him from a race at Saint-Cloud just 26 days ago, but we were really pleased with what he's shown us at home so we thought we'd give it a go in the first juvenile race of the season."
Koi Dodville proved to be the model passenger on the long journey to Northumberland from Pipe's Somerset yard, with the 12 and a half-hour round-trip made sweeter by success.
He added: "He travelled up very well and is a laid-back customer. He jumped well but just got a bit lonely out in front. He took it all in his stride."
Vet rescues losing streak
Qualified vet and trainer Neil Mechie celebrated his first winner in 1,874 days as Coolnacritta landed a 40-1 shock in division two of the 2m handicap hurdle.
The six-year-old proved a handful at the start, but was on his best behaviour in the race and also provided former jockey Finian O'Toole with his first winner as an owner.