West Wizard's Cheltenham bid ships blow
NICKY Henderson's highly-regarded West Wizard had been expected to enhance his Supreme Novices Hurdle claims in the opener at Kempton but he proved no match for Sgt Reckless.
Henderson had used the same race to launch the hurdling careers of Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth and the ill-fated Darlan, and West Wizard was already the ante-post favourite for the Supreme at Cheltenham after his striking bumper debut at the course in the spring.
But Mick Channon's Sgt Reckless (7/2) was sent to the front on the turn for home by Dominic Elsworth who had Barry Geraghty in trouble with two flights to jump and completed a five-length success.
Henderson and Geraghty did record a double with 30/100 favourite Bear's Affair taking the beginners' chase over three miles before Giorgio Quercus (9/2) beat Bally Legend in the Pertemps Network Handicap Chase.
One of Harry Fry's best servants, 4/7 favourite Highland Retreat, survived a final-flight blunder with Noel Fehily aboard en route to Listed honours in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle.