Huntingdon’s highest-profile card of the year takes place on Sunday and Robbie Wilders from the Racing Post provides three betting tips.
Dan Skelton appears to have found a winnable opportunity for Father Of Jazz on his hurdling debut in a weak 2m novice.
Father Of Jazz reached a peak rating of 104 on the Flat and was primarily campaigned in Group and Listed races in that discipline, so could blow this race apart if he takes to jumping.
That seems likelier than not given Skelton’s positive comments about this exciting recruit in a recent Racing Post stable tour, and he is worth chancing.
A late non-runner in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Cheltenham’s November meeting, Father Of Jazz brings by far the most interesting credentials to the table and could take high rank in the division.
Nickle Back made a pig's ear of his return in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham by refusing to settle and needs to wise up if he is to build on his previous promise.
He pulled around 30 lengths clear of a strong field for the grade that day before those early exertions paid and he faded into seventh.
However, this 2m handicap hurdle offers this quirky six-year-old with a chance for redemption off a 2lb lower mark in a first-time hood over three furlongs shorter.
If the headgear works, Nickle Back looks quite well treated off a mark of 132 as he ran to a Racing Post Rating of 140 on just his second start when dotting up by 30 lengths in a novice hurdle at Fontwell last October.
That suggests he has a real engine. The Cheltenham reappearance should have knocked the freshness out of Nickle Back and it is early days for this lightly raced youngster, who deserves another chance.
The Grade 2 Peterborough Chase at 2.55 is Huntingdon’s feature in the calendar and an excellent seven-runner field goes to post.
Last season’s winner First Flow is back for more and while he is renowned for appreciating a slower surface, he still acts on quicker going.
The ground was good when he gave 6lb and a beating to Funambule Sivola here and conditions should be fine for First Flow.
However, he is 10 now and giving 3lb to two race-fit and improving second-season novices in Millers Bank and Pic D’Orhy might be tricky.
The old rivals have met three times and are tough to split with one victory apiece, but Millers Bank has unseated his rider on three of his past seven runs, so Pic D’Orhy rates the safer conveyance under Harry Cobden.
Pic D’Orhy conceded 5lb to Millers Bank when scoring by a length in the Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton, and right-hand tracks seem to suit my selection slightly better.
He looked as good as ever on his return at Newton Abbot in which he gave lumps of weight away to a 142-rated mare in Kissesforkatie, and he seems to be fulfilling his abundant early potential now.
This is Pic D’Orhy’s second run following wind surgery, and he can land this before possibly stepping up in class to Grade 1 level later in the season.