An intriguing card at Huntingdon was headlined by the Grade Two Peterborough Chase which saw Somersby, The Nightingale and Gauvain lock horns with the rapidly improving youngster Mr Moonshine. Henrietta Knight was chasing her ninth win in the race with Somersby, but her charge had to settle for second behind Nick Williams’ recent Sandown faller Gauvain, who ran out a cosy winner of the two-and-a-half-mile contest. Somersby travelled menacingly into the race under a conservative ride from Dominic Elsworth , but once again he could only plug on at the one pace to snatch second from the front-running Mr Moonshine. The Nightingale took a heavy fall at the third fence, while Surfing was also a casualty at the ninth when going backwards.
After his four-and-a-half-length victory, connections of Gauvain are now eyeing a tilt at the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. The most striking winner on the card was Paul Webber’s Alasi, who ran out an impressive winner of the mares novices chase. She didn’t appear to beat anything of any note, but she jumped well and it will be interesting to see if connections choose to pitch her in against the boys next time.
It was no surprise to see the two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle go the way of Hit The Headlines on his hurdling debut for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty; the son of Flemensfirth was an easy winner of a bumper here last season, but he was very disappointing at Newbury thereafter. This time round he was ridden far more prominently, and ran on well to the line despite being knocked around in the wind. His trainer implied they would continue over hurdles this season, but he is more of a long-term prospect, and he won’t come into his own until he is seen over the larger obstacles.