Tuesday 29th May
Paul Rackham Champion Novices’ Hunters’ Chase
Stress has comfortably beaten Festival Bound three times between the flags this season and he once again has the chance confirm his superiority in the Paul Rackham Champion Novices’ Hunters’ Chase at Huntingdon on Tuesday.
The pair first met at Cottenham (Good to Firm) on 31st December in a competitive Restricted. Stress was second, with Festival Bound pulling up.
The first of the former’s two wins this season came at Higham (Good to Firm) in January with Festival Bound four lengths back in third. The second victory at Northaw (Soft) three weeks ago was much more impressive, the winner quickening clear to win by 20 lengths (Festival Bound 2nd).
In between, the eight-year-old chased home two useful sorts – Rumbavu (since won the PPORA Young Horse Award) and Little Legend (won Folkestone Hunter Chase earlier this month) – but seeing off today’s opposition is well within his capabilities.
Festival Bound is held by Stress but has still enjoyed a consistent season. Only a jet-propelled Marky Bob denied him of scoring on his rules debut at Fakenham last month (Native Bob remote 4th) and he is entitled to make the frame again here. The six-year-old clocked a faster time when winning at Penshurst than the race containing Oscar The Myth, who was beaten the best part of 15 lengths.
Oscar The Myth will benefit from the stronger handling of Phil York but his Point form looks below the standard of a couple of the others. He has been beaten by a few exposed sorts in Restricted company so is hard to fancy.
Accessallareas won a 2m4f Maiden at Cottenham in December but tailed off next time out and was not seen again for nearly three months. He failed to last home at Coldharbour after leading for the majority of his reappearance 17 days ago and may improve for that outing.
Maiden Pointer Dunegan Castle never threatened in a similar event at Folkestone 12 days ago.
Coincidentally four of the six riders rode in this race last year, when there was also a six-strong field. Gina Andrews took the prize that day with Thatmakestwoofus but it is hard to look past Carey Williamson (Stress) continuing her excellent form here. The rider has guided It Was Me to two impressive Hunter Chase wins for owner/trainer Nick Wright this term and the team are able to complete the hat-trick. Accessallareas has hinted at ability and may prove each-way value.
Stress (2pts WIN)