Paul Nicholls saddled Rebel Rebellion to win an informative beginners' chase at Exeter yesterday with the seven-year-old holding off the favourite Bold Henry by two and a quarter lengths.
Chris Giles, who owns the winner with Jarred O'Sullevan, said: "I think he will go for a race at the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham over two and a half miles. That was all credit to Paul as he's been off for a year.
"He picked up a tendon injury at Chepstow and was out for the rest of the season. When Ruby (Walsh) jumped off, he said he thinks he'll get further."
Nicholls had earlier saddled Mr Mole to win a high-quality two miles one furlong novices' hurdle – his first winner with his first runner for JP McManus, holding off warm favourite Melodic Rendezvous by a length and a half.
"He is very green, he was green in the bumper last season and he was again today. He's done loads of schooling but I think he just finds everything so easy. If we look after him he ought to be a nice horse," said the champion trainer.
Another very decent prospect to emerge from the meeting was Harry Topper who won the three miles beginners chase. Rocky Creek was the evens favourite to win and after the last it looked like he might deliver, but Jason Maguire fought back on Harry Topper to win by a length and a quarter.
"We'll see how he is after this as he picked up a small knock. He's mad at home – he crib bites, box walks – but he won't give up."
Wings of Smoke is back on song after winning the competitive two miles three furlongs. Michael Byrne pushed the top weight to the head of the field three fences from fast and just held on from Swift Chap to win by a length. "Last season he was out of sorts and we couldn't get him right so we stopped running him. We'll see how he is after this but he'll make a nice chaser one day," said winning trainer Tim Vaughan.
Owner, trainer, breeder James Payne, who lives at Dulverton, was delighted with his veteran Knapp Bridge Boy after he came home the easy winner of the handicap steeple chase in the hands of Liam Treadwell. "We thought he'd run well after his run at Newton Abbot three weeks ago. He's always been a brilliant jumper and I'm so pleased with that," he said.
It was a memorable day for Harry Fry who scored his first ever winner when Highland Retreat won the extended two miles seven furlongs novices' hurdle. Appropriately the five-year-old is owned by Fry's landlord Richard Barber whose grandson Jack was on the winner.
Highland Retreat had fallen in a point to point at Bratton Down in May but he got up to win on the line by a head from Vicky Wade on Alberobello and the pair had battled it out up the run in.
"It couldn't have been written any better. Richard has given me a fantastic opportunity and to do it for him is brilliant. I'm delighted to get the first one on the board," said Fry.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Garde La Victoire came home the winner of the Connolly's Red Mills junior bumper in the hands of Richard Johnson.