HORSE RACING: Aintree on the agenda for big Huntingdon Racecourse winner after trainer and jockey land Sidney Banks prize for second successive year
- Credit: Archant
The Grand National meeting looks like being the next destination for the winner of last Thursday’s big race at Huntingdon.
Keeper Hill sped to victory in the Listed 188Bet Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle over a shade under two-and-a-half miles.
It meant success for the combination of jockey Gavin Sheehan and trainer Warren Greatrex in the race for the second successive year after they had sent out Ma Du Fou to land the 2016 renewal.
Keeper Hill, a 9/2 shot, took advantage of an eight-pound advantage in the weights to beat odds-on favourite Messire Des Obeaux by a neck in a thrilling finish.
Winning owner Max McNeill would love to sample Cheltenham Festival success, but he feels the flat Aintree track may currently be the best option for his young horse.
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McNeill said: “I don’t want to run young horses at Cheltenham if they are not ready or have not got a chance. Aintree might be the better option.”
Sheehan and Greatrex completed a double when Petticoat Tails preserved her unbeaten record in the first division of the 188Bet EBF Mares’ Standard National Hunt Flat Race.
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Another of racing’s big occasions – the Punchestown Festival in Ireland – could be on the agenda for her after cruising clear by two-and-a-quarter lengths in the manner an 8/13 favourite should.
Skewiff, for jockey Adam Wedge and trainer Evan Williams, won the second division of the bumper at 8/1 to bring the curtain down on a seven-race card.
It started with a bang for Henry Morshead, who made his first-ever ride at the local track a successful one when guiding 11/10 favourite Bandon Roc to victory in the opening Six Nations Rugby at 188Bet Handicap Hurdle for trainer Kim Bailey.
Petite Power gave trainer Fergal O’Brien his 50th winner of the campaign in the Free Bet At 188Bet Chase under the excellent Paddy Brennan before Keeper Hill landed the big-race spoils.
Kalondra (15/2) was the easiest winner of the afternoon when scooting clear by 11 lengths to land the 188bet.co.uk Handicap Hurdle for jockey Noel Fehily and trainer Neil Mulholland, while Song Saa triumphed at 4/1 in the Free Spins at 188Bet Casino Handicap Hurdle under Adrian Heskin, for his boss Tom George.
The next fixture at Huntingdon is on Thursday, February 23 when another Listed prize - the 188Bet Lady Protectress Mares’ Steeple Chase – is the highlight.
The track also stages a Cheltenham Festival preview evening on the same day when champion jockey Richard Johnson will be on the panel along with ITV racing commentator Richard Hoiles.
A joint ticket for the afternoon’s racing and the preview night – held in the Cromwell Stand – is available for £20 and includes a food voucher.
Tickets for the preview night alone, which starts at 6.30pm, are £10.
It’s also another of the track’s #GoRacing days with advance admission available for £10.
Tickets are on sale at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk or by calling 0844 579 3007.