CHAMP, trained by Nicky Henderson, produced an eye-catching performance when he made his first appearance over the big fences at Newbury last Thursday, writes Dave Wright.

Having won five of his seven hurdle races, big things are being expected from the seven-year-old, and he didn't disappoint in the KKA-Highpoint Beginners' Chase.

The 8/13 favourite, ridden by Barry Geraghty finished three-and-a-half lengths in front of Jeremy Scott's Dashel Drasher, who had made the running in the 17-fence contest.

"You would have to say that is about as perfect as you could get," beamed Henderson.

"It was professional and clean. He is a very good horse and he has a lot of gears."

Sky Bet reacted by cutting Champ to 7/1 from 8/1 for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Lambourn-based Henderson went on to complete a treble on the afternoon with 15/8 favourite Diablo De Rouhet winning the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Nico de Boinville before 8/1 shot Son Of Camas took the Open National Hunt Flat Race with James Bowen doing the steering as they finished two lengths clear of stable-mate Timberman, ridden by de Boinville.

The same jockey nearly gave Henderson another winner on Floressa, but the 11/8 favourite lost out by a short head to Paul Nicholls' Silver Forever, with Harry Cobden on board, in the CSP Mares Novices' Hurdle.

The Newbury Bid Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle went to the 3/1 favourite Zanza, ridden by Sean Houlihan and trained by Philip Hobbs, while Sir Valentine (4/1) from Nigel Twiston-Davies ' yard and with son Sam in the saddle, was an impressive winner of the Agetur UK Novices' Hurdle.

Newbury are now preparing for their Ladbroke Winter Carnival meeting on November 29-30, in which Paisley Park is set to take part in the Long Distance Hurdle.

The winner of last season’s Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle covered two miles at Newbury last Thursday under Barry Fenton, husband of his trainer Emma Lavelle, in a workout with stablemate Hawk’s Well.