Monday, February 28, 2011

Easy victory for Starluck on Huntingdon chasing bow

Alan Fleming surprised plenty of regular racing scribes earlier this month when he announced that his very classy two-mile hurdler Starluck would switch to chasing and might run in the Arkle Chase if successful on his Huntingdon debut. After winning with plenty to spare at the Cambridgeshire track on Thursday, the option of bidding for the two-mile novice chasing crown remains,

Last seen finishing third to Binocular in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton having previously run a fine second to Peddlers Cross in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury in November, most people had expected Starluck to take his chance over timber and bid for the Stan James Champion Hurdle itself. Fleming and the grey's owner Andrew Wates appear to have accepted that the chance of their charge beating the likes of Menorah, Binocular, Peddlers Cross and Hurricane Fly is slim, so after schooling the six-year-old they decided to take the bull by the horns and even at this late stage switch to chasing and he will no doubt attract a few Cheltenham 2011 bets.

In the main Starluck jumped soundly under Tony McCoy, only making a couple of slight novicey errors and always travelling far too strongly for his three rivals at Huntingdon. After jumping the last he coasted clear on the bridle to record a facile six-length victory over Pascha Bere and anyone looking to bet on Cheltenham racing should take this into account.

Fleming wouldn't be drawn on whether his stable star will go for the Arkle Chase, insisting he would have to discuss the matter with the owner before declaring his hand. He also suggested that there was a second option of running in a Sandown novice chase on March 5, missing Cheltenham, and instead heading for either or both of the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals in April.

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