FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED AT HUNTINGDON’S SEASON OPENER
There’s a chill in the air and October has arrived, which can only mean one thing in Huntingdon – Jump racing is BACK.
Racegoers were treated to an eight race card and some familiar faces at the track as the course welcomed racegoers back on Tuesday 5th October.
We tasked Graham Clark with picking out five things we learned on the day …
IMPULSIVE ONE PROVES AN IMPRESSIVE ONE IN THE OPENER
Huntingdon’s season might only be a day old but the course won’t see too many more convincing victories than Impulsive One’s demolition job in the very first race.
Jockey Daryl Jacob partnered the Nicky Henderson-trained 1-4 chance to a 10 length victory in the two mile Huntingdon Season Opener Juvenile Hurdle.
It was the perfect way to follow up his debut success over hurdles at Plumpton and Jacob believes the experience will not be lost on the Union Rags gelding.
Jacob explained: “He is probably better off being dropped in. He got a lead at Plumpton and there was not much pace in the race today but it was another experience he got into him.
“He needs this sort of experience at the moment and it was a nice education to get into him.
“He made a mistake at the second last but I think the race was won by then to be fair.”
AMATEUR PROCTER LANDS 66-1 GAMBLE ON DAY TO REMEMBER
Amateur jockey Frederick Procter admitted he was “over the moon” to get his first winner under rules in the colours of his father Doug after steering Soul Icon to a 66-1 success.
The 22 year old enjoyed the landmark moment aboard the Sixties Icon gelding, who runs in the colours of Glanvilles Stud Partners which is operated by his father and Dr Geoffrey Guy, in division two of the Boxing Day On Sale Now Handicap Hurdle.
Having been at the front of affairs from almost the word go in the extended two mile three contest the Keiran Burke-trained four year old continued to find plenty all the way up the run in before scoring by two and three quarter lengths.
The winning rider said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I’ve been riding six years now but I’ve not ridden under rules that long so it is nice to get a winner early.
“Coming into this we thought he had been treated quite generously by the handicapper which is why I put all the effort in to get down and he has gone and proved us right.
“It means a lot to get my first winner under rules for dad, especially as we bred him at home and I remember foaling that horse.”
POGSON’S ‘BARGAIN’ BUY PROVES HE’S NOT OVER THE HILL
We all love a bargain and although £6,000 is a lot of anyone’s money, it’s a relative steal when it comes to racehorses.
But that’s how much Adam Pogson picked up Larch Hill for just a few weeks ago and the eight year old gelding is already paying his way, winning the Welcome Back To Huntingdon Racecourse Handicap Chase to make it two from two for his new trainer.
Having acquired him out of the yard of Nigel Twiston-Davies following his defeat in a selling hurdle at Market Rasen in August, Pogson can be praised for a shrewd bit of business.
Former champion jockey Brian Hughes was on board and the trainer said: “I just said to Brian, ‘drop your hands and see where he is happy’. Romanor took him on for four or five fences but he was soon in his comfort zone.
“In a higher grade we will drop him back from two and a half to two miles as he always jumps and travels well. I think he improved for the month off we gave him. It took him a while to settle in at home.
“I think we will probably look at the first meeting at Doncaster with him now. He is not looking a bad buy for £6,000 out of a Market Rasen seller!”
HUMPHREY DELIGHTED AS HAT-TRICK BID REMAINS ON TRACK
Railway Muice defied a 12lb hike in the weights for his recent success at Market Rasen when completing a hat-trick of wins with a game two and a quarter length victory in the Clive Graham Memorial Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Sarah Humphrey, winning trainer, said of the 11-4 chance: “I thought the 12lb he got last time out would be too much but he is a game horse and he has proved me wrong.
“We thought he was well handicapped when we got him and he hasn’t put a foot wrong.
“Good ground is important to him. We were worried about the rain the track had had and Nick (Scholfield) said he wouldn’t want it any softer.
“The trip is no problem to him and I would say he would be better over further than that extended 2m 7f.”
SHEPPARD CONFIDENT THERE’S MORE TO COME FROM ARGONAUTA
We don’t expect to be seeing hoof perfect performances over obstacles in October and if Argonauta’s victory here is anything to go by then the best is still very much to come.
In fact jockey Stan Sheppard believes his charge will be seen to even greater effect when racing beyond two miles following his four and a quarter length success in the “Peterborough Chase Day” Sunday 5th December Novices’ Hurdle.
Sheppard said of the Tom Lacey-trained 9-4 winner: “He will definitely be going up in trip after that but he will come on plenty for that experience.
“It wasn’t the greatest race but Olly Murphy’s horse (Island Nation) is a solid yardstick.
“He made a little mistake at the last two and I was told not to get there too soon but I couldn’t do much about that as he took me there.”