Esprit De Somoza Runs Out Easy Winner At Huntingdon To Boost Triumph Hurdle Hopes
The Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon is known as a trial for the Triumph Hurdle and, although it hasn’t been as well-worn a path for top hurdlers of late as it has been in the past, we may have seen a surprise contender for the showpiece race of the novice hurdling season emerge from this year’s renewal.
Nicky Henderson’s Style De Garde had been well-punted prior to the race and travelled smoothly to lead throughout the opening stages.
But as his market rival and fellow Triumph Hurdle hopeful, Philip Hobbs’ Gumball, came to challenge him at the business end of things, and the two got into a tiring tussle that seemed to zap the energy out of them both, their Cheltenham hopes faded away somewhat.
Nick William’s unfancied runner Esprit De Somoza, the outsider of the field, passed the pair of them after the final hurdle to win going away.
He left the two highly-rated types in behind to battle it out for second with Gary Moore’s Aiguille Rouge, with Gumball sticking his head out to win that three-way go.
The wide-margin winner, having shown up two well-thought-of novices, has been chalked up as short of 20/1 for the Triumph.
The Smarkets Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle Race
1st - 5 ESPIRIT DR SOMOZA
2nd - 1 GUMBALL
3rd - 3 AIGUILLE ROUGE