In truth a poor days racing with very little further clues towards the Festival with gets closer and closer. We must continue to try and build that Cheltenham bank.
Starting with a three mile chase at Huntington with a small, select field. The selection is Fergal Mael Duin, while this horse has had plenty of chances to get his head in front. Tom Scudamore is back in the saddle and has been riding out of his skin over the last fortnight. David Bridgewaters seven year old gelding has by far the best profile in this race and while he is a twelve race maiden this could be by far his easiest task. Last time out he was given an aggressive ride but given a more patient ride should see him go close. This horses jumping needs to be brushed up but he is clearly talented and should take all the beating.
Arbeo won over course and distance on his second last run, however that form has not worked out very well and has been harshly raised by the handicapper. The same can be said about Take the Mick who is now fifteen pounds higher than his last win. Safran De Cotte should reverse form with Take The Mick but looks currently weighted to his best.
Fergal Mael Duin is by far not the most solid in this race but if he puts it all together at once his is well ahead of the handicapper.
Fergal Mael Duin (WIN)
Astigos is by clear the market leader and based on his most recent form could take the world of beating. He finished second to the progressive Generous Ranson at Cheltenham last time. However he is a still a eighteen race maiden so clearly has his quirks. The Venetia Williams horse will need a strong pace to run at which given the small field is not a guarantee. With that said he is worthy taking on at his short price.
Montoya’s Son has been mopping up this small runner fields, given a lay off can continue to progress off this career mark. His last run has been well franked by the second who finished second in a better race on Saturday. The trip and ground conditions will not cause any concern. With Craig Nichol valuable claim back on board I am expecting a bold show.
The only other danger is Up and Go and previously was a top class novice hurdler but has regressed since. He has shown signs, winning last time out but the stables form is enough for me to overlook this horse.
Montoya’s Son (WIN)
We make a trip to Ireland as per usual on the Sunday Weekender and take in a Veterans chase over three miles. Glenquest should win this. He has been a reformed horse this season, finishing a close third in the Welsh National (travelling as if he had just jumped in) before following up in a hurdle race at Down Royal. He clearly has an excellent chance if in the same form.
The main danger could be No Secrets who is having his first run for Tony Martin. He ran well towards the end of last year but hasn’t won since February 2013. Its an interesting yard move and while I don’t think it will be today he is worth a market check and an eye for future races.
Glenquest is at the top of his game and Andrew Lynch can bring him home to win again.