Twentytwo’s Taken can repay a nice chunk of her not inconsiderable price tag by landing the EBF & TBA Mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle Race Finale at Newbury tomorrow.
The seven-year-old changed hands for £150,000 late last year after winning two bumpers in Ireland before being placed in a Listed heat behind Lyrical Theatre, who has developed into a useful hurdler this term.
Twentytwo’s Taken has not made such progress yet as while she struck gold for new handler David Pipe at Fakenham in January, she could not back that up next time as she was beaten 15 lengths at Plumpton.
Admittedly she raced far too keenly that day and paid the price at the finish, but her eager style of racing was not too much of a hindrance when getting back on track at Exeter last month.
The King’s Theatre mare ran out a cosy seven-length winner on that occasion and looked certain to be capable of even more in due course.
Open Hearted has not really lived up to the promise of his early career but the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase should be well within his compass if he is on his A-game. He won three on the bounce over hurdles in the 2011/12 season, including a defeat of subsequent Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate winner Ile De Re.
However, he has been raced sparingly since then, notching a couple more wins over hurdles before Nicky Henderson switched his attention to the bigger obstacles last term, winning on his debut before failing to sparkle next time.
Switching back to two and a half miles here, Open Hearted is of plenty of interest and could well give the Queen a nice success.
Spookydooky can bring up his hat-trick in the Thakeham Handicap Hurdle at Kelso.
The Jonjo O’Neill trained seven-year-old won at Doncaster in January and Southwell last month.