RACE PREVIEWS & TIPS (THURSDAY)

15:10 Huntingdon Antarctica De Thaix got her head in front for the first time in a year when winning at Bangor a couple of weeks ago. That came in a novices’ chase and she won by nearly a distance. Always tracking the leader, she traveled well throughout to see off her rivals one by one. That will have built her confidence and with this being her time of year, it wouldnt be the greatest of shocks to see her cause a minor upset here. The yard are in terrific form and Sam Twiston-Davies replaces Sean Bowen in the saddle. The switch to chasing looks to have improved the attention of the seven year old and it would be foolish to dismiss her on ground that should suit. Desert Queen was a revelation over hurdles and made a seemingly smooth transaction to fences. Whilst she fell a few starts ago, she has subsequently picked herself up and won a listed novices’ event since. If the ground remains on the dry side her chances will only increase. She does seem to struggle more when the rain sets in. Still she carries penalties here and commands respect on that basis. She has beaten a couple of these before so she looks the obvious danger. Actinpieces won at Catterick over much further last time and it has to be a concern that she drops dramatically in distance. She has run at this level a couple of times in the past and struggled so it is hard to make a case for her. ANTARCTICA DE THAIX (WIN)

15:45 Huntingdon Minella Style made his debut in an all weather bumper at Lingfield in December and he finished a respectable third of the seven runners. He will obviously have learned from that and will benefit from this significant step up in trip. Neil King has his runners in decent form and with question marks over many rivals including some who have been off the track for a couple of years, he is worth considering in what is a wide open race. The switch to turf will also be in his favour and it would be of little surprise to see him outrun what are likely to be over-inflated odds. Chato comes here as the obvious form pick. Part owned and trained by Alan King, he did well to win his bumper at the first time of asking. He was thrown in at the deep end at Ascot in December and takes a substantial drop in grade in order to try and get back in the winning habit. With the yard in such excellent form he has to be considered a major threat and is likely to run a huge race. Bite The Biscuit has shown promise in two outings so far. The injury that Richard Johnson suffered yesterday means that he is unavailable for the ride and that may of course be detrimental to his chances. If progressing as expected though, he too is likely to make his presence known. MINELLA STYLE (E/W) – NAP

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