Friday 21st February - Despite rainfall in the hours before racing began turning the official going to “heavy”, favourite backers were on good terms with themselves after five of the seven Betway-sponsored races were won by the market leader at Huntingdon’s latest race meeting on Thursday.
The most impressive winner of the day came in the two-mile handicap hurdle when Miss Heritage, the 15/8 favourite, sluiced through the mud to win by a staggering 37 lengths. She was ridden by French jockey Maxime Tissier, who is based with winning trainer Lucy Wadham at Newmarket, and has now had four winners from just 12 rides at the Cambridgeshire venue.
Former champion trainer Nicky Henderson provided the shortest priced winner with Fugitives Drift, the 11/8 favourite, when winning the second division of the novices’ hurdle under stable jockey Nico De Boinville by three and a half lengths. The closest finish of the afternoon came in the first division of the novices’ hurdle 30 minutes earlier when the 9/2 chance Rock On Rocco, under Johnny Burke for trainer Tom George, prevailed by half a length.
Gloucestershire-based Fergal O’Brien was on the scoresheet once again courtesy of Project Mars (7/2 favourite), having just his second start for the trainer, with victory in the 18-runner handicap hurdle over two and a half miles. The eight-year-old was O’Brien’s 57th winner of the campaign and means he now only requires four more successes to better his previous sea-son’s best of 60.
The mares’ maiden hurdle over two and a half miles was won by Miss Honey Ryder, ridden by Adrian Heskin, who recorded her first victory over hurdles in denying the 5/2 joint-favourites Legends Ryde and Who’s The Boss.
There were two steeplechases on the card, the first of which was won by 5/2 favourite Enrichissant, who seemingly relished the very soft ground to saunter clear of his rivals by 18 lengths and record his second victory in as many starts at the course for jockey Brendan Powell and trainer David Bridgwater.
Despite the severe weather in Herefordshire in recent days, it hasn’t stopped trainer Venetia Williams who sent out her fifth winner of the week with Ibleo, ridden by stable jockey Charlie Deutsch, who maintained his unbeaten record over fences to win the closing novices’ handicap chase over two miles.
Racing returns to Huntingdon for the first Family Fun Day on Sunday 1st March. In addition to the action on the track, there will be lots of entertainment for the kids off it - and don’t forget that entry is free for under 18’s. The first race is scheduled for 2:20pm and more information can be found online at www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/huntingdon.