Huntingdon preview: The Hon Mackinlay handicapped to strike
David Metcalf | January 15, 2016
Trainer Ben Pauling has his team in terrific shape, and The Hon Mackinlay can take advantage of what looks a lenient mark to provide him with another success in the 2m 3f handicap hurdle that opens proceedings on today’s card at Huntingdon (13.20).
The gelding shaped with plenty of promise when finishing runner-up to the now 117-rated Hannah’s Princess on debut in a bumper at Stratford for trainer Mick Channon, keeping on nicely to be beaten four lengths without being knocked about.
Since joining Pauling, The Hon Mackinlay has had just three starts over hurdles and caught the eye on more than one occasion.
The seven-year-old ran well two starts back when a a tenderly handled fifth of 13 to the 122-rated Iftiraaq at Leicester, and backed that up with promising sixth of 17 to the 110-rated Unbuckled at Doncaster.
Judge on those efforts, The Hon Mackinlay has been brought along steadily with handicaps in mind and looks a potential improver now going down that route.
An opening mark of 105 looks very exploitable, especially based on his bumper run, and The Hon Mackinlay also remains unexposed and open to plenty more improvement.
Three Faces West to win on debut
In the 2m 3f novices’ handicap chase (15.20), Three Faces West looks to hold leading claims of making a winning debut over the larger obstacles.
The gelding won three times over hurdles last season when trained by Donald McCain and shaped with plenty of encouragement on his first start for Philip Hobbs when third at Haydock last month.
Three Faces West raced strongly at the head of affairs before weakening after the last to be beaten 6 3/4 lengths on very testing ground.
It was a pleasing effort after 276 days on the sidelines, and the eight-year-old is sure to come on a bundle for the outing.
Three Faces West was also a winning pointer in Ireland, so whatever he achieved over hurdles was always going to be a bonus.
The son of Dr Massini has the size and scope to make up into an above average chaser, and a handicap mark of 130 does not look harsh given his lightly-raced and progressive profile.
13.20: The Hon Mackinlay (NAP)
13.50: The Unit
14.50: Sceau Royal
15.20: Three Faces West (NB)
15.50: Briery Belle
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