Paul Nicholls left encouraged by McFabulous display at Exeter

McFabulous produced an impressive round of jumping to take an eventful renewal of the RGB Building Supplies Adier Rayner Novices’ Chase at Exeter.

Plenty had been expected of the Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old, who won the Select Hurdle at Sandown last season, but he was pulled up early on his chasing debut in the 'Rising Stars' Novices' Chase at Wincanton on his return just over a week ago when he slipped in the home straight on the first circuit.

However, the Giraffa Racing-owned McFabulous looked a completely different proposition on his second chase start, outstaying Unexpected Party, who was making his seasonal debut in the two-mile-three-furlong event, and scoring by nine lengths.

Though there were just four runners, 11-8 second-favourite Camprond caused plenty of problems, having unseated Aidan Coleman at the first fence.

He all but sideswiped Unexpected Party on two occasions and the remaining trio were taking no chances with the loose horse and only came out of a modest gallop after a mile and a half.

Evens favourite McFabulous was pushed all the way by Unexpected Party, who was upsides at the second-last before visibly tiring a few strides from the last.

Harry Cobden's mount put himself straight impressively when putting in a short leap at the last, and Nicholls said: "Delighted with that. He jumped round, jumped well, so that was the main thing. We can build on that.

"Going to the last, Harry has gone for a long one, and he has said, 'no, I'm in charge and I'll just fiddle away'. He was brilliant today. He has learned a lot, so it is ideal, and he can build on that.

"We might come back here in two weeks' time - there is quite a valuable novice chase here.

"We can go anywhere, although I haven't really made any definite plans."

Winner of the Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton in 2021, he could return to the Sunbury track over the festive season.

Nicholls added: "He'll be able to run again in a fortnight's time somewhere. He loves Kempton, and I know the owners are keen to run in the Kauto Star over Christmas, so we will probably find a run before then."

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