There was a bumper turnout of 95 horses across the eight races at Huntingdon’s second race meeting of the new season on Tuesday 13th October, with all of the action sponsored by MansionBet.
Undoubtedly the classiest performance came in the second race of the afternoon, when the five-year-old mare Vegas Blue, trained by six-time champion Nicky Henderson, scored a comfortable 13 length victory in the mares’ maiden hurdle over two miles and three and a half furlongs. She raced prominently from the outset and, despite being hampered at the fourth last hurdle, she led shortly afterwards and easily beat her main rival Panic Attack. This was a second success at the Cambridgeshire venue for Vegas Blue after landing the valuable Henrietta Knight Mares’ Bumper last December and there will be more high profile targets for her in the months ahead.
There was a double on the day for reigning champion jockey Brian Hughes, who had journeyed south from his Yorkshire base for three rides. His first win came in the second division of the novices’ handicap chase aboard the Charlie Longsdon-trained Champagne Noir before landing the staying handicap hurdle just over 90 minutes later on Innisfree Lad for trainer Tom Symonds.
Elsewhere on the card, father and son combinations teamed up with great success as the afternoon kicked off with a surprise 33/1 winner for trainer Jonjo O’Neill and his son, Jonjo Jr, with Prince Escalus. Having only his second outing for the stable, he put a moderate run at Newbury back in January behind him to make a winning debut over hurdles.
An hour later, Sam Twiston-Davies steered Guy to a first career win on his chasing debut, trained by his father Nigel. The French-bred travelled strongly throughout and mostly jumped well to land the first division of the novices’ handicap chase.
The sixth contest saw only the second winning favourite on the card when the 5/4 shot, The Late Legend, followed-up a win just six days ago at Sedgefield for trainer Tom Weston and jockey Sean Bowen. This horse is a strong stayer and relished every yard of the near three-mile journey despite having to carry a seven-pounds penalty for that recent victory.
Local trainers also made their mark on proceedings with Thorney-based Pam Sly taking the MansionBet Handicap Hurdle over two miles with Takeit Easy, recording a first career win under Kielan Woods, whilst Newmarket handler Lucy Wadham took the concluding National Hunt Flat Race with 22/1 shot Will Sting, who held on by a diminishing head under young Irish amateur jockey Corey McGivern, to deny Jonjo O’Neill a second winner in the closest finish of the day.
Racing returns to Huntingdon on Sunday 1st November, with a seven-race card due to begin at 12.50pm. This meeting will be staged behind closed doors due to the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions but all of the action can be seen live on Racing TV (Sky 426/Virgin 536).