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Huntingdon preview: Class-dropping Matorico to open account

David Metcalf | November 10, 2015

Matorico can take advantage of a big drop in class to open his account over the obstacles in the 2m novices hurdle which opens proceedings on today’s card at Huntingdon (13.10).

France form bears encouragement

The gelding had some fairly useful form to his name on the flat in France, and shaped with bags of promise on when runner-up to Arabian Revolution on hurdling debut at this venue after joining trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

Horse Racing - Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse

After being held-up off the pace, the four-year-old made smooth headway three from home to chase the winner and stuck to the tack well to be beaten 3 1/4 lengths without being unduly knocked about.

The winner is a useful sort, and the pair pulled 14 lengths clear of now 125-rated rival to give the form a solid look. It was a most pleasing introduction, and one which suggested Matorico had a big engine and needed keeping firmly onside.

Although the son of Mastercraftsman failed to trouble the judged in two subsequent outings, those runs came in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grade 1 Champion four-year-old Hurdle at Punchestown.

Matorico was far from disgraced in the former when 10th of 16 to Peace And Co for one so is inexperienced, and this represents a huge drop in grade. Matorico looks the type who should have plenty more to offer this season, and he can put his hurdling experience to good use to get the better of smart flat recruit Camborne and land the spoils.

Ruacana in the running

In the 2m 3f handicap hurdle (14.10), Ruacana looks decent value to make a winning reappearance. The John Ferguson trained gelding had some very smart form to his name as a juvenile in 2012/13, and snapped a long losing run when scoring in good style by 1 1/2 lengths at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day.

Ruacana backed that up with a cracking sixth of 21 to Astra De la Cour in an ultra-competitive contest at Aintree, keeping on well to be beaten just 3 3/4 lengths off a mark of 142. Those runs suggest Ruacana is firmly back on track after a spell in the doldrums, and the six-year-old is able to race in this off an unchanged rating.

That should enable Ruacana to be very competitive, and he has a decent record fresh and hails from a yard that have a tremendous strike rate of 62.5 per cent at the track in the past 12 months.

Selections:

13.10: Matorico (NAP)
13.40: I Am Colin
14.10: Ruacana (NB)
14.40: Balgarry
15.10: Midnight Gem
15.40: William Hunter

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