HORSE RACING: The bookies are given a bashing at first Huntingdon fixture of the year
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Favourites came to the fore in the first Huntingdon Racecourse fixture in 2019.
Four of the six contests were won by the market leader last Friday while the big Weatherbys Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle went to the second favourite.
Prabeni – a 7/4 shot trained by Charlie Mann and ridden to success by Jeremiah McGrath – landed the two-mile, £25,000 contest in smart style by two-and-half lengths from favourite Westbrook Bertie to stake his Cheltenham Festival claims.
That did little to provide any relief for the bookmakers during a card bookended by 15/8 winners.
Black Buble took the opening conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at those odds under Jonjo O’Neill jnr, while Etamine Du Cochet landed the closing mares’ maiden hurdle for the sibling combination of jockey Harry and trainer Dan Skelton.
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There was another family affair as jockey Joshua Moore steered his father Gary’s promising novice Dell Oro to a tidy success in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Chase at 13/8.
But it proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the Sussex trainer after he was forced to withdraw six other intended runners – including Beat The Judge who had been the ante-post favourite for the Chatteris Fen race.
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Those horses were all stuck in tailbacks after the A14 was closed in both directions for much of the day following a lorry fire near Fenstanton.
The other victorious favourite was Arthur’s Reuben, who finished strongly to land the Weatherby Hamilton Handicap Chase at 3/1. The Jennie Candlish-trained horse eased clear after the final fence under Jonathan Burke.
Shanty Alley was the biggest-priced winner of the day in the two-mile maiden hurdle. Ben Case’s five year-old was steered to glory by jockey Wayne Hutchinson at odds of 17/2.
The next meeting at Huntingdon Racecourse is on Friday, January 25.
It features the second most valuable race at the track in the form of the £75,000 Smarkets Lady Protectress Mares’ Chase.
Tickets can already be purchased in advance at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk or by calling 0844 579 3007.