SPARSHOLT trainer Harry Whittington compared Saint Calvados favourably to his ill-fated star Arzal after the French import made it back-to-back wins at Newbury with another impressive display.

Arzal will always hold a special place in Whittington’s heart having provided the handler with his first Grade 1 triumph when landing the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April 2016, before having to be put down after picking up an infection following a minor leg injury.

But he now has another exciting recruit in Saint Calvados, who destroyed his rivals with a superb round of jumping under Aidan Coleman in an extended two-mile novices’ limited handicap chase to coast home ten lengths clear of Tree Of Liberty.

Whittington, who was passing his previous best tally of 21 winners in a jumps season set two years ago, now plans to take the five-year-old gelding to Warwick for the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase on February 10, and will also enter him for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.

Meanwhile, Coneygree is bidding to get his career back on track in the Betbright Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, from Mark Bradstock’s Letcombe Bassett stables, near Wantage, has had an operation to improve his breathing since being pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury last month.

That was the second time the 11-year-old had failed to complete the course this season, having also been pulled up in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in November when he sustained a nasty overreach – an injury which involves the hind foot striking into the front heel.