First Account was highlighted as a horse to follow in the February Update, in addition to featuring in the Handicap Snips section of One Jump Ahead. The former Irish pointer was having his first run for Keith Dalgleish at Musselburgh on Tuesday and the six year old justified strong market support to land the two and a half miles novices' handicap chase. Runner-up on his chasing bow at Hexham earlier in the season, he travelled and jumped well under Craig Nichol and found plenty for pressure when challenged from the third last. A two and a quarter lengths winner off a mark of 117, the Malinas gelding has only had five races during his career and is open to further improvement. Better ground will probably suit, too, so all being well First Account is set for a productive spell in the spring.
Paul Nicholls won the Imperial Cup at Sandown for the first time last season and it will be interesting to see if he has the two miles handicap hurdle in mind for Christopher Wood. A useful juvenile hurdler last term, the five year old had proved disappointing in his first two starts this season, including behind Epatante in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury last time. Having undergone wind surgery since, the Fast Company gelding was back in action at Musselburgh and he bolted up by eleven lengths in the 0-140 handicap under Harry Cobden. Racing off a mark of 135, he is set for a sizeable rise but looks the sort to win a decent handicap hurdle this spring.
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