Soigneux Bell will bid to build on his first success over jumps last time out after being tasked with attempting to secure trainer Gary Moore a third successive victory in the Weatherbys Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon on Friday (January 12th).
The gelded son of Muhtathir will take on five rivals in the two-mile feature which the Lower Beeding handler has dominated in the past two seasons after saddling Perseus Way to victory in the race 12 months ago having previously sent out Kotmask to glory in the 2022 renewal.
And although Moore believes Soigneux Bell, who finished fifth over course and distance on his second start over hurdles in November, will need to step forward from his recent success at Fontwell he feels conditions at the Cambridgeshire track will play to his strengths.
Moore said: “He was purchased to be a nice horse but until the other day at Fontwell he had been disappointing.
“He won on the flat in France and I ran him over a mile and a quarter on the flat at Epsom, but that was too sharp for him, however he still ran well. The winner won that race easily, but I don’t think the race was very good.
“He schooled well over hurdles, but then the first time I ran him over them he was disappointing, and he was disappointing the next day at Huntingdon.
“When he won at Fontwell I was much happier, and I think he is just starting to come together.
“He needs to improve a lot to win this on Friday, but I did have this race earmarked out for him.
“He seemed much happier on the softer ground the other day as it was his first time on it over here since coming over from France. Hopefully he will continue improving.”
A trip to the Cheltenham Festival featured for Perseus Way following his victory in last year’s race and an outing at Jump racing’s Olympics could materialise for Soigneux Bell according to Moore should he produce the goods on his next assignment.
He said: “I hoped this lad was going to be a Triumph Hurdle horse, but I don’t think he is that at the moment. He would have to win well on Friday and prove me wrong.
“There are some nice handicaps at the end of the season for juveniles and that is the route he is likely to go down.
“If the owners want to go to the Cheltenham Festival then he would run in the Fred Winter (Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle), but he would need to go up in the handicap to get in that.”
Weatherbys Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle 1m 7f 171y – Declared Runners
1 Kabral du Mathan (FR) ts 4 11 8 Neil Smith & Alfie Smith Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden
2 Blue Universe (IRE) 4 11 0 The Attwater Partnership Michael Attwater Marc Goldstein
3 Kartoon And Co (FR) ts 4 11 0 Mr P. H. Betts Dan Skelton Harry Skelton
4 Latin Verse 4 11 0 Mr P Arms and Mr S Harvey Anthony Charlton Harry Reed
5 Soigneux Bell (FR) 4 11 0 Jacobs Construction (Holdings) Limited Gary Moore Caoilin Quinn
6 Whispering Royal (IRE) 4 11 0 Chelsea Thoroughbreds - Whispering Royal Alan King Tom Cannon