Andy Stephens' top tips for Friday: Nothing suspect about Keyser Soze

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Fri 11 Jan 2019

A relatively low-key Friday but it was on this day last year at Huntingdon that Terrefort bolted up off a mark of 137 on his British debut and he was winning in Grade One company by the end of the campaign.

And three years ago Sceau Royal won the feature race on the card, the Weatherbys Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle, and he has certainly not done too badly since.

The common denominator is that they carried the colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. The pair have a couple of runners on today’s card, too, and I’m hoping they can get us off to a flyer in the opening contest.

Terrefort wins easily at Huntingdon a year ago

1.00 Huntingdon: Evron at a general 10-1

Munir and Souede have not purchased too many duds from France and at double-figure odds it may be worth giving their Evron another chance.

He finished tailed off at Lingfield last time, having previously been well held on his British bow at Carlisle.

His days running in green will be numbered unless he can get his act together but the five-year-old has had a wind operation since we last saw in action, two months ago, and Warren Greatrex also equips him with a first-time hood.

In addition, the handicapper has dropped Evron an aggregate of 8lb to a humble mark of 111 and his final effort in France – when chasing home Echo Sacre and Eni Light over fences at Auteuil –suggest he could be thrown in.

The runner-up, for instance, was not disgraced in Grade One company last time.

2.10 Lingfield: Keyser Soze at 2-1 with bet365

Hardly the most original choice but Keyser Soze stands out here and 2-1, in relative terms, looks chunky.

The Richard Spencer-trained five-year-old was an emphatic winner over course and distance last time, having previously been a big eye-catcher at Kempton.

He is up 5lb for his win but the opposition lacks depth and it should not be enough to prevent him following up.

The one niggle is that he is often held up and can be a hostage of fortune (has a decent turn of foot) but Swift Approval and Take The Helm, who usually lead or race prominently, promise to tee things up for him.

2.30 Huntingdon Prabeni at 9-2 with Betfair

Fret D’Estruval ran much better than the bare form suggests on his British debut at Cheltenham last month – looking a likely winner for much of the way before running out of steam.

This speedier test might well be much more his cup of tea but that is reflected by the fact he is a general 9-4 and, at double the price, my eye is drawn to Prabeni.

He was just about the pick of these on the Flat and he remains unexposed in that sphere over middle distances.

The betting suggested not much was expected of him on his hurdling bow at Kempton but, from what we could see in the fog, he shaped well to be a staying-on third to Beat The Judge.

Only sixth after two out, he kept on well in a muddling event which undoubtedly suited the winner (a speedier type on the Flat) more than him.

Prabeni is 8lb better off with Beat The Judge and this promises to be run at a much more even tempo, which should bring his stamina more into play.

The initial 6-1 on offer quickly disappeared, but 9-2 is still appealing.

2.50 Sedgefield: The Paddy Pie at general 3-1

There only five runners in this 2m3f handicap chase but it’s likely to be run at a decent tempo with course specialists Instant Replay, seeking a third track win, and Oak Vintage, seeking a fifth success here, habitual front-runners.

I fancy they might set things up for The Paddy Pie, who drops back in distance after running well, but not quite getting home, over 3m and beyond at Wetherby and Catterick on his past two starts.

He definitely looked stretch by the trip last time and his penultimate effort, when touched off by Fingerontheswitch, represents solid form for this level with the winner subsequently making the frame in the Badger Ales Trophy.

Tayzar needs to brush up his jumping but may be the one for the forecast.

3.00 Huntingdon Dell Oro at 5-2 with SkyBet

Front-running Well Smitten jumped his rivals silly when winning here on Boxing Day and is the type to shrink in-running on Betfair.

He capable of making a bold bid to defy his 8lb rise - he was having his first start for Amy Murphy and looked an improve performer – but preference is for Dell Oro.

His form on good ground, or quicker, stands close inspection and he has shaped well on both his chase starts.

He came off second best to the useful Chesterfield first time at Kempton and last time was a solid fourth to the progressive Glen Forsa switched to handicap company back at the same venue.

This represents an easier assignment and, eased 1lb, he can take advantage.

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