Gavin Cromwell appears to have inherited an exciting individual in Encanto Bruno who bounced back to winning ways in impressive fashion to make his stable debut a successful one in the Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle on day one of The Showcase at Cheltenham today.
The son of Mahler hit the ground running for his new yard when readily outpointing his rivals in the two-and-a-half-mile contest to provide both Cromwell and winning jockey Keith Donoghue with their second success of the afternoon, bringing up a near 5-1 double.
Having pulled up on his final start for John McConnell at Galway back in August the five-year-old gelding, who finished 11th in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March, left that effort well and truly behind in the manner of a horse with plenty more to offer.
Just as his stablemate My Mate Mozzie did 35 minutes earlier the 11-4 Favourite moved effortlessly into contention as the field approached the final flight where he was one of a handful of runners still holding every chance.
However, Encanto Bruno quickly put the race to bed when sent on by Donoghue before claiming victory by two lengths to add make it two wins in as many seasons at the Showcase Meeting after taking a National Hunt Flat contest at the meeting 12 months ago.
Cromwell said: “He was keen quite early, and he jumped a few of them quite big, but he travelled very strongly, and he won very well.
“Although he goes quite well at home I’d say he is a far better racehorse than he is a workhorse, which is always the way you like to have it. I’m delighted with that, and it was a good performance.
“He is a pretty straightforward horse and I’m delighted to have him. It was one of those runs (when he pulled up the last day) that you leave behind you as there was something amiss and I wouldn’t read into that.
“He is versatile, as he has won over two and a half miles today, and although he doesn’t show much pace at home he could certainly come back to two miles as he was quite keen at home.
“He is a lovely horse to look forward to. I think he will be a lovely horse when he jumps a fence to.
“We will go away and have a think about it and have chat with the owners and Keith (Donoghue) and weighing it all up (as to what we do next).
“I don’t think he would like deep Irish winter ground so he would be more for the spring.”
“We will have to look at a better race next and when life gets harder that’s when we will see how good he is.”