Diamond King the ace in Maguire hat-trick
DIAMOND King looks an exciting novice hurdler for Donald McCain after proving the highlight of a Jason Maguire hat-trick at Wetherby yesterday.
Just as McCain was confirming his 2012 Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes will return to the track at Ascot next month, Diamond King showed he could be another live Cheltenham candidate for the stable.
A winner of two bumpers last season by a wide margin, he was sent off the 30/100 favourite on his debut over flights and comfortably won by four and a half lengths from Secrete Stream.
"I've left a bit to work on, so that was grand," said McCain. "He travelled smoothly and jumped well, he looked eye-catching."
McCain's Indian Castle also looks to have a bright future after turning over the odds-on Seymour Eric in the beginners' chase. The 6/4 chance looked a real natural in winning by two lengths in the hands of Maguire whose third winner was for John Quinn on Rutherglen in the juvenile hurdle.
A decent performer on the Flat for George Baker, the 8/11 favourite was made to work hard for his victory, as Dan Skelton's Stephen Hero was only a length and a quarter down at the line.
Meanwhile, the Willie Mullins-trained Prince De Beauchene and Junior head the weights on 11st 12lb for the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree on December 7.
The former is one of five possibles from Mullins' powerful Closutton, Co Carlow, yard along with On His Own (11st 1lb), Terminal (11st 1lb), Vesper Bell (10st 13lb) and Sin Palo (10st 6lb).
Other Irish entries are Ted Walsh's Colbert Station (11st 9lb), Henry de Bromhead's Sizing Australia (10st 8lb) and the Liz Doyle-trained Rich Revival (10st 5lb).
Swing Bill (10st 11lb), a very respectable sixth in the Grand National and fourth in this race last season, heads David Pipe's entries along with Junior. The Pond House supremo also has Master Overseer (11st 3lb), Bostons Angel (10st 13lb) and Ace High (10st 3lb).