Victory is Close for Huntsmans
Chris Wilson previews Tuesday's meetings in the UK and Ireland with his nap coming at Yarmouth.
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EXETER: 2.10 Highland Retreat, 2.40 Dom Lukka, 3.10 Bold Henry, 3.40 What Er Say, 4.10 Gentleman Jeff, 4.40 Rocky Creek, 5.10 Demographic.
FAIRYHOUSE: 2.05 Sizing Rio, 2.35 Waaheb, 3.05 Seefood, 3.35 Give Us A Hand, 4.05 Ballygill Gale, 4.35 Notorious Villain.
LINGFIELD: 2.00 Lady Romanza, 2.30 Gold Roll, 3.00 Nenge Mboko, 3.30 Manazel, 4.00 Airborne Again, 4.30 Picansort, 5.00 I See You, 5.30 Bert The Alert.
YARMOUTH: 1.50 HUNTSMANS CLOSE (NAP), 2.20 Nickels And Dimes, 2.50 Precision Strike, 3.20 Clumber Place, 3.50 Minsky Mine, 4.20 Ghazeer, 4.50 Exceedexpectations, 5.20 Hooligan Sean.
DOUBLE: Hunstmans Close and Nenge Mboko
Huntsmans Close has a perfect opportunity at Yarmouth in which to break his maiden at the fifth attempt.
The Michael Bell-trained youngster has looked quite a promising type this season, but is maddeningly still without a win.
That should change in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Maiden Stakes over six furlongs.
Huntsmans Close made his debut at the Norfolk circuit in July when he travelled beautifully from the outset, only to be worn down by Makafeh towards the line.
That rival has since proved above average, though, as he was considered by Luca Cumani to be good enough to contest the Autumn Stakes on Future Champions Day at Newmarket.
Bell's two-year-old again went on to finish second on fast ground at Haydock, after which he again had to make do with the silver medal over course and distance in September.
That last run was of the greatest significance as he got to within a length and three-quarters of Van Der Neer, whose subsequent romp at Leicester convinced connections he would be worth supplementing him for the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
Huntsmans Close is possibly a tricky ride as he does not appear to find a massive amount off the bridle, but is, crucially, adept when the ground is demanding - an attribute which is sure to come in handy here.
Nenge Mboko has had similar fortunes to Huntsmans Close in his juvenile year, and would be a deserving winner on the all-weather at Lingfield.
A half-brother to Group Three-winning sprinter Ringmoor Down, the George Baker-trained colt has brought a decent level of form to the table in four starts - even though he has yet to taste success.
Nenge Mboko struggled in the same Glorious Goodwood maiden as Huntsmans Close, but that run was sandwiched between encouraging displays at Epsom and Brighton.
Although he could not justify even-money favouritism at the last-named venue, the son of Compton Place showed an affinity towards stepping up to seven furlongs when he finished three-quarters of a length behind the useful Gigawatt a fortnight ago.
That Brighton run was his first start since July, so he might have been a shade leg-weary following a 10-week absence.
Fitness will not be an issue in the New Lingfield Park Owners Group Maiden Auction Stakes, for which he looks a serious player.
Picansort boasts similarly strong claims in division two of the Annual Members Loyalty Handicap.
Peter Crate's highly-tried five-year-old seldom runs a bad over Lingfield's six furlongs which is reflected in his far superior all-weather rating.
He did, however, demonstrate at Sandown last time, when he was a game second to Tom Sawyer, that his time may be near again.
Picansort has finished second on his last three starts on Lingfield's Polytrack, yet runs here off the same mark at which he was successful over course and distance in January.
Paul Nicholls has high hopes for Rocky Creek this year and he begins what could be a lucrative season in the Betfred "The Bonus King" Beginners' Chase at Exeter.
Winner of the River Don Novices' Hurdle in January, where he beat Gullinbursti who reopposes, the inexperienced six-year-old found the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham a little too much.
Nicholls has always viewed him as a chaser, though, and he should be one to follow this season.
Gentleman Jeff is a capricious fellow, but should be given another go in the Haldon Handicap Chase.
Lucy Jones' eight-year-old needs robust handling as he is notoriously languid, yet two recent efforts at Hereford, on ground that was perhaps faster than ideal, bodes particularly well for this assignment.