Pym made the most of a return to calmer waters with a front-running success in the Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown.
Having failed to complete his final two starts last season in the Reynoldstown at Ascot and the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival in March, the Patricia Pugh-owned seven-year-old returned to winning ways with victory in the Listed prize.
Taking a while to warm to the task, the 9-4 chance soon got into a good rhythm on the second circuit of the three-mile prize before finding plenty to score by two and a half lengths from Grade One-winning hurdler and 2-5 favourite If The Cap Fits.
Winning trainer Nicky Henderson said: “He started his season really well (last year), then things got tougher. He doesn’t want very soft ground and I was forced to go into those Graded races last season and I will again now.
“He has schooled at home, but he was just a bit rusty on the first circuit. He was just dossing in front as he wasn’t going to get any help from anyone else, that was plainly obvious.
“The second circuit he was great. He jumped well and he used his experience.
“It would have probably been on Champ’s agenda, but he has had his wind done, so I thought we would stick him in here – although he is not another Champ, if you know what I mean, but he has come and picked up the pieces. It was a good start to the season.”
Assessing future targets Henderson, who claimed the race 12 months ago with subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Santini, is unsure what route he will now take.
He said: “It is very difficult to know where to go with him. He gets three miles which is the good thing and he likes that ground. We will have to tickle our way through.
“There are races like the Peterborough Chase, but he really wants three miles. He likes small fields and it is nice having them for a horse like that.”
Source : Sky Sports