herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Hungerford looks to have appetite for win

Trainer Andrew Balding
Trainer Andrew Balding

Hungerford was a bit unlucky to bump into a progressive rival last time but compensation awaits in the 32Red.com Handicap at Kempton.

A winner over a mile at Lingfield on his second start back in January, he deserved plenty of credit for finishing third on his turf debut at Doncaster last month, finding it all a bit tough after a five-month break.

He clearly stripped much fitter at Chester last time out, though, as he chased home Molly Dolly over seven and a half furlongs. Racing off level weights, the winner looked like she was handily rated and so it proved as she ran out a two-length winner, with a drop back to seven and a half furlongs a likely negative for Hungerford.

He kept on well in the closing stages so the switch back up to a mile here is in his favour, as is the return to an all-weather surface, which seems to suit so well.

Duretto put up no sort of show on his return to action at Sandown in May but he is worth another try in the £10 Free Bet At 32RedSport.com Handicap.

Andrew Balding’s charge won at the second attempt last term, building on an initial second at Newbury to claim a Kempton maiden in November.

He was then gelded over the winter before returning to the fray at the Esher venue in what was a competitive 10-furlong heat. However, Duretto appeared to be very much on his toes in the preliminaries and gave himself no chance after taking a keen hold, eventually dropping out to finish last of the 10 runners.

Obviously that is not the most promising piece of form, but Duretto is worth another chance, particularly as the handicapper has dropped him 4lb in the ratings for that performance.

Acolyte has been knocking on the door so far this term but his time can come in the 32Red Casino Handicap. Two seconds and a third show he is in fair heart this season and he only just failed to reel in Mullionheir when given plenty to do last time.

Hallstatt defied his advancing years when winning at Wetherby last time and he can go in once again in Catterick’s Yvonne Mee Celebration Handicap. He will have to defy a 3lb rise in the ratings, but his confidence will be riding high.

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