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Nicky can draw breath after Huntingdon jaunt

Festival fancy: Angels Breath PICTURE: GETTY

NICKY HENDERSON’s Angels Breath puts his Cheltenham credentials on the line in a Listed race at Huntingdon today.

The five-year-old grey is ante-post favourite for next month’s Festival curtain-raiser, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, on the back of an impressive debut at Ascot in December.

Angels Breath missed an intended engagement at Haydock last month but will now get some valuable experience under his belt before Cheltenham.

Owner Dai Walters has another leading contender for the Supreme in the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Al Dancer, who heads the betting for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

‘If he runs well, he won’t run again until Cheltenham,’ Walters said of Angels Breath. ‘We’ve got two horses. We don’t want to run them against each other. I think after Saturday, we should know where the horses are going.’

Henderson said Angels Breath was ready for his second start over hurdles.

‘We’ve got through the bad weather so it’s time to get going,’ said the trainer. ‘He needs the experience.

‘I thought it was a good place to go. It’s a good track and it’s a nice race for him, and it will be a good test I’m sure.’

Angels Breath should have most to fear from Emitom, whose trainer Warren Greatrex has a good record in today’s Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle having won it in 2016 and 2017 — and saddling the runner-up 12 months ago.

‘It looks a hot renewal,’ he said. ‘It will be a good test to see what he can do.’


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Stable bites

■ AUSTRALIAN trainer Darren Weir has been disqualified for four years in his native country after choosing not to contest charges of possession of devices used to deliver electric shocks to horses. Weir is one of Australia’s most successful trainers and sent out the 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance.

■ VETERAN Harry The Viking is on course for Sunday’s rearranged Edinburgh National Handicap Chase at Musselburgh. Trainer Sandy Thomson (pictured) is delighted with the condition of his 14-year-old, who won the Borders National at Kelso last time out. ‘He doesn’t really like a slog nowadays, so hopefully the ground is fine for him and he’s good to go,’ he said.

■ TRAINER Richard Hughes is hoping for beginner’s luck today with his first runner in Dubai when Fintas contests the UAE 2,000 Guineas. The former jockey is optimistic Fintas will take to Meydan’s dirt surface.