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09/05 Huntingdon Preview: Vaxalco & Eaton Miller set to do battle in Novices’ Handicap Chase

Cheltmental returns to offer us his views on Thursday’s £5,000 Best Dividend Guaranteed Place 6 pool at Huntingdon.


13:40 – National Hunt Maiden Hurdle (Class 5) (4yo+) 2m4f145y

Welsh Saint is the obvious contender to land this Maiden Hurdle and has shaped up as though the extra distance will suit.

The Butcher Said has been disappointing since joining the McNeill’s and, while I wasn’t shown enough on stable debut to suggest he’s any better than we’ve seen before, it’s probably enough to play a minor role in this.

At a wild price, Mister Murchan ran in a bumper last month which looks likely to have been a stepping stone to this rules obstacle debut. The extra trip will help and he looks overpriced.

Jackson Hill looks the type to improve for an obstacle but I’m not convinced he’s the most genuine and this is his first spin on quicker than soft ground.

Selections – Welsh Saint, Mister Murchan


14:10 – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (4yo+ 0-110) 1m7f171y

Another leg with just two places up for grabs and it looks a fairly competitive handicap. The first of the three who peak my interest is Cesar Du Gouet, who makes his stable debut with Champion Jockey Richard Johnson in the saddle.

Sid Hoodie is an honest type and the cheekpieces helped him on his last outing. My reservation with him is how he copes with the ground if it’s on the slow side of good.

Panko is the last of the trio who should find things much easier in this type of race and might just be better than he’s shown previously. The same applies to him as Sid Hoodie in terms of to the ground.

Selections – Cesar Du Gouet, Sid Hoodie, Panko


14:45 – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 5) (4yo+ 0-100) 3m1f10y

If we survive the non-runners here, we’ll have three places up for grabs but it looks a tricky race to solve nonetheless. Kahaleesi would be the most obvious choice given how well she ran on handicap debut and the extra distance could unlock further improvement in her.

As that’s not assured, I would want Talkingpicturestv on my side as well, as she at least has shown she stays this trip. Lakeside Pearl is another who does get the trip and she’s progressed in her two starts for this yard. If she can settle better in here I think she’s got a big shout.

Selections – Kahaleesi, Talkingpicturestv, Lakeside Pearl


15:20 – Handicap Chase (Class 4) (5yo+ 0-120) 2m104y

Back down to just two places and, while it can be easy to disregard any runners out of the handicap blindly, Torrent Des Mottes is a course and distance winner and might be able to defy being 3lb wrong.

Stowaway Magic appears to have a decent claim if you trust his peak hurdle mark and this is the sort of track that should suit. Storm Control would be another that needs to be taken on trust but, if the recent wind op has resolved his issues, then it’s plausible he’s miles better than his current mark.

Selections – Torrent Des Mottes, Stowaway Magic, Storm Control


15:55 – Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (4yo+ 0-110) 2m3f137y

Any short price Dan Skelton debutants need a second look so, for that reason alone, Finula earns a spot on the slip. He has a lengthy absence to overcome but his only win came round here off the back of a break and on previous stable debut.

Oxford Blu would be another that isn’t the easiest to trust and it wasn’t that long ago he was fancied by trainer Olly Murphy to go well in the Fred Winter (2018). He’s been in no sort of form since then but his current mark, and position, when falling in his last race suggests that he’s capable now.

Having dropped 2lbs from his handicap debut, where he ran well to the last, Mr Dorrell Sage should be suited back down in trip and looks very likely to be competitive here.

Selections – Finula, Oxford Blue, Mr Dorrell Sage


16:25 – Novices’ Handicap Chase (Class 4) (5yo+ 0-105) 2m7f129y

There’s one line of form I’m happy to trust in this race which came over course and distance and involved Vaxalco & Eaton Miller. The pair both enjoyed themselves round here on that day but the former wasn’t able to secure a clear path on the run in. If he can avoid that this time round I’d expect him to reverse those placings but I wouldn’t have much between them.

Selections – Vaxalco, Eaton Miller

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