OLD-timer Hello Bud, who was last seen giving vain chase to Grand National winner Neptune Collonges at Aintree in April, is set to go for glory in the Stone Source Grand Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Cartmel today.
The race, the brainchild of Cartmel chairman Lord Cavendish, is one of the highlights of the final day of the Jubilee Bank Holiday meeting at the hugely-popular Cumbrian track.
Now 14, Hello Bud showed himself to be no back number by finishing a highly creditable seventh in the National, and trainer Nigel Twiston Davies is looking for a big run.
He said: “The race is ideal for him, a staying chase for veterans and on one of my favourite courses,
“It should be right up his street and he goes there in really good nick. I am very optimistic.”
The trainer’s son, Sam, will take the ride on Hello Bud, who has top weight of 11st 12lbs and will have to give plenty of weight to some decent chasers, notably last month’s Hereford winner Huckleberry, who is scheduled to receive 22 pounds.
Even at the age of 10, Huckleberry is improving, and his win over Prime Edition in the heavy ground at Hereford was arguably the best chasing performance of his career, which is saying something for a horse who has won six of his 26 starts over fences.
In fact, Huckleberry will be out to make it five wins in a row on Wednesday, having justified favouritism on his last three starts.
“He does need a couple above him to come out in order to run, but it is the intention to be there,” said Huckleberry’s trainer Tony Carroll.
“He is in really good form and I would be extremely hopeful of him going very close again if he gets in.” Lee Edwards, who has ridden Huckleberry in his last eight races, when he has only twice been out of the frame, is likely to take the mount again tomorrow.
Stepper Point is bound for Royal Ascot after delighting his trainer Willie Muir at Chantilly on Sunday.
The King’s Stand Stakes on the opening card of the five-day feast on June 19 beckons for the son of Kyllachy.
He put his best work in at the finish to take second place behind Wizz Kid in the Group Two Prix Du Gros-Chene over the minimum trip at the French track.
The Lambourn trainer said: “I’m absolutely delighted as all my horses have been running terrible, and they came back scoping badly.
“This fellow was working average compared to last year when he was tearing down houses.
“The first time out I could accept it. We had a change of gallops in Lambourn, so I used a different gallop during the winter and I got it wrong and all the horses needed that first run.
“I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet and he’ll improve. It is a two-year plan.
“It is not easy for a three-year-old to take on the older horses. The King’s Stand will be next for him.”
Few courses show themselves off better in the height of a good summer than the garden racecourse, Ripon, which features evening action tomorrow.
Best chance of a winner comes in the 8.40pm, the SIS Live Maiden Stakes, when Stencive, trained by William Haggas, should appreciate a drop in class.
He only managed to beat one horse home in a five-runner contest, but that was in listed grade behind Noble Mission at Newmarket in a contest run in a good time, and he showed more than enough there to show he had a race of this nature in him.