Cap Soleil maintained her unbeaten record with a stylish display in the CSP Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.

Trainer Fergal O’Brien, who is enjoying a golden spell at present, opted to take on some nice types first time out over obstacles with the four-year-old after she won two Listed bumpers last season.

Dame Rose, winner of the Grade Two mares’ bumper at Aintree, set off at a frenetic pace under Danny Cook but she was carrying a penalty, having already struck over hurdles at Hexham in October.

By the second-last Cap Soleil and Countister had taken over, but it was the former’s jockey Paddy Brennan who barely moved a muscle en route to a seven-length triumph.

O’Brien said of the even-money favourite: “I felt a bit of pressure as you want to get that first run out of the way, but she was fantastic.

“Her main asset is that she is so laid-back. She doesn’t know she’s a racehorse, which is what you need.

“A big plus is having Paddy ride her as he’s put a lot of work into her.

“I think there’s a mares’ Listed race back here next month and she might be better on softer ground, which we should get. You’d like to think she’ll end up at Cheltenham in March.”

Claimantakinforgan (30-100 favourite), third in the Champion Bumper in March, made a winning debut over obstacles for Nicky Henderson in the Agetur UK Novices’ Hurdle.

Henderson told Racing UK: “He’s always looked a smart horse in the making and this was a nice place to start.

“Like a lot of ours, he’s just had a little blow. He’d get two and a half miles but he’s quick.

“I think he’ll stay at two next time and hopefully he can do that again somewhere before going up in class.”

Nicky Henderson has high hopes for Newbury scorer ClaimantakinforganNicky Henderson has high hopes for Newbury scorer Claimantakinforgan (David Davies/PA)

David Pipe’s string have hit form and his Dell’Arca (7-1) showed the benefit of a recent run when bolting up in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

Jockey Tom Scudamore said: “He’s been a wonderful servant for the yard – he won the Greatwood five years ago. To produce what could be a career-best five years after his biggest win is testament to him.”

Philip Hobbs left Newbury with a treble as the triumph of Strong Pursuit (4-1) in the beginners’ chase was backed up by Poppy Kay justifying 5-2 favouritism in the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle.

Strong Pursuit was ridden by Richard Johnson, who also teamed up with the Minehead handler to take the concluding bumper with Tidal Flow (8-1).