Nicky Henderson pictured with Nico de Boinville © Photo Healy Racing
The Owners Group were celebrating at Taunton as the well-regarded Will Carver made a winning reappearance on Thursday afternoon.
The Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old impressed when a novice hurdler, but then suffered an injury that kept him sidelined for over 600 days and has only been seen once since the summer of 2021.
Following an uneventful comeback run in February the gelding has spent another 278 days waiting for suitable conditions – but made connections’ patient approach worthwhile when sent off the 3-1 co-favourite for the Stables Business Park Handicap Hurdle in Somerset.
Not far off the lead throughout in the hands of James Bowen, he made smooth headway to hit the front with two flights of hurdles to jump, with even a blunder at the last not enough to stop him romping to an eight-length success from fellow market leaders Decorated and Afadil.
Having scored readily off a mark of 126, bigger days could now lie in wait for Will Carver, including a possible switch to the larger obstacles if his Seven Barrows handler deems him ready for a change of discipline.
“He’s only had one issue after his run in Perth in 2021 and we gave him loads of loads of time,” said Dan Downie of Owners Group.
“Because we gave him loads of time, we didn’t want to run him back on very quick ground and that is why we only ran him once last season. He’s only had the one issue and we’ve just had to be very very patient with him.
“He’s a horse that we have always been quite excited about anyway and particularly going chasing. I haven’t spoken to Nicky and I’m not sure if we’ll go straight to chasing or stick to hurdles for a bit longer, but the plan was always to go chasing at some point.
“He’s a horse we’ve always held in high regard, but when they have had that much time off you can’t be expecting too much, so we are delighted.”