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Lucky Loader’s Huntingdon Preview: “He’s too well-handicapped for me to ignore.”

It’s not all about the Cheltenham Festival, there is also racing going on at Huntingdon which boasts a competitive card. The race I am looking forward to seeing is the bumper as I think there are some really interesting horses with some classy pedigrees that are represented by some powerhouse stables.

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In a tricky race, I’m going to give my vote to Est Illic, who has found a new lease of life this winter. The last time we saw him, he posted a respectable third-place finish at Leicester when plugging on up the run-in. On his old form, he’s very well-handicapped and always seems to show his best form on heavy ground. With the stable among the winners, I think he can be rewarded for his consistency.

Selection: Est Illic EW (20/1)

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Villainess has run well in some decent mares’ novice hurdles this season, which included a decent half-length second at Plumpton in January. That form was worked out as the winner, Sweet Fantasy, bolted up at Catterick last month. Today the daughter of Yeats will be making her handicap debut off a mark of 104, which could end up being a gift. If she can handle the step-up in trip, I think she could be hard to beat.

Selection: Villainess – Win (13/8)

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There are a few you can make a case for, but I am just going to side with Broughshane. He was travelling well when he fell at the third last at Chepstow in January, where he probably would have been involved in the finish. He seems to handle a bit of a cut, and he’ll be receiving 7lbs from the likes of Inedit Star and Jour D’Evasion, which further helps his cause. I can see him going close, provided he puts together a clear round of jumping.

Selection: Broughshane – Win (11/2)

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This is a head scratcher but considering my love affair with Ben Pauling novice hurdlers, I think Flash In The Park is better than what he’s shown. He’s run in two novice hurdles this season at Doncaster and Aintree, where the form has worked out well. The six-year-old gelding has had a little break, and that could make all the difference. If he can recapture his point-to-point win, I think we can see a different horse.

Selection: Flash In The Park – Win (9/2)

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Grasshopper Time has recorded the best recent effort out of any in this field after he finished third at Plumpton last month. That form has been boosted by the winner, who went on to score next time out at Taunton. If he gets a soft lead, the son of Califet might be able to boss this race and build on his promising run last time out.

Selection: Grasshopper Time – Win (11/4)

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One horse stands out here from a class perspective, and that is Generous Day for Henry Oliver. If you go back through his form, he rated in the high 120s, and he is now 6lb below his last winning mark. I think he didn’t shape too badly when finishing third over this course and distance last month and showed a bit more spark than on his previous runs. He’s too well-handicapped for me to ignore.

Selection: Generous Day EW (10/1)

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We might have saved the best race to last, as there are a few horses that have some classy pedigrees. The one I’m drawn to is Star Artist, who is related to the likes of Urban Artist and Jester Jet, which is a family his trainer Hughie Morrison knows well. If he is fit and ready to go, he might be able to play a hand for a yard that does well in bumpers.

Selection: Star Artist – Win (7/2)

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