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Taj Badalandabad back in business at Huntingdon

Fri 26 Jan 2018

History repeated itself at Huntingdon as Taj Badalandabad gained his first success in more than 18 months with another victory in the Pertemps Network Group Handicap Hurdle.

After claiming the three-mile-one-furlong contest in 2016, the David Pipe-trained gelding obliged once more under Tom Scudamore when clearing away late on to defeat The Mighty Don by six lengths.

Pipe said of the 9-1 winner: "He had been off with a leg injury. He ran well at Cheltenham first time out and then we thought he would run well at Wincanton, but he ran a shocker. We felt putting a tongue tie and a visor on might have sharpened him up and it has worked a treat. It was a good race to win, with nice prize-money."

Regarding an outing in the final at the Cheltenham Festival, he added: "If William (Frewen, owner) wants to, then why not?"

There was a sad postscript to the race, with the Jonjo O'Neill-trained former BetVictor Gold Cup and JLT winner Taquin Du Seuil suffering a fatal fall at the third-last.

His jockey Aidan Coleman said: "I am fine physically, but mentally that hurts. He gave me the BetVictor and that was one of the best days of my life."

The silks of the ill-fated Taquin Du Seuil were carried to victory earlier in the card when Django Django (11-8) gave Jonjo O'Neill junior a winner on his 20th birthday with a two-length success in the Pertemps Network Commercial Novices' Hurdle.

Owner Martin Broughton said: "The other horse (Ar Mest) hit the last and I was not sure whether Jonjo would have caught him, but he was confident he would have done. It is nice to give him a birthday present."

Having enjoyed a treble at the track at the last meeting, trainer Nicky Henderson had to make do with a double on this occasion, initiated by the 21-length success of Maestro Royal in the Pertemps Network Industrial Beginners' Chase under Jeremiah McGrath.

Assistant trainer Toby Lawes said of the 1-9 winner: "It is almost a slightly belated chase debut as it took a while for the penny to drop over fences at home.

"Hopefully we might find a clever little race somewhere for him."

Pougne Bobbi (6-5) may have booked his ticket for a trip to Cheltenham in making the most of a drop in class to complete both Henderson's and McGrath's double in the Education Network Handicap Chase.

Lawes said: "The first time out he needed the run and we were a bit disappointed with his last run. He just loves this ground. The deeper the better for him.

"I suspect he will go up a good bit for that. They might want to run him in a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival if it came up wet."

Quote of the day

There is no better feeling for an owner than when tasting victory for the first time, as Tim Wright discovered following the success of the David Dennis-trained Broken Quest.

He said: "I thought I was going to have to be taken to the general hospital, my heart was beating out of my chest two out. It is a fantastic feeling."

Performance of the day

It was a case of saving the best until last, with the Harry Whittington-trained Anemoi, who is a half-brother to Fillies' Mile winner Laurens, making a rather taking debut in the bumper.

Ride of the day

After taking the feature on Taj Badalandabad, jockey Tom Scudamore gave the Ian Williams-trained First Assignment a well-judged ride to complete a double in the extended two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.

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