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Promising close well in the hunt

HUNTMANS CLOSE has a perfect opportunity at Yarmouth to break his maiden at the fifth attempt.

THE Michael Bell-trained youngster has looked quite a promising type this season, but is maddeningly still without a win.

That should change in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Maiden Stakes over six furlongs.

Huntsmans Close made his debut at the Norfolk circuit in July only to be worn down by Makafeh towards the line.

That rival has since proved above average, while Bell's two-year-old went on to finish second on fast ground at Haydock, after which he again had to make do with the silver medal over course and distance in September.

That last run was of the greatest significance as he got to within a length and three-quarters of Van Der Neer.

Huntsmans Close is possibly a tricky ride as he does not appear to find a massive amount off the bridle, but is, crucially, adept when the ground is demanding - an attribute which is sure to come in handy here.

Nenge Mboko has had similar fortunes to Huntsmans Close in his juvenile year, and would be a deserving winner on the all-weather at Lingfield.

A half-brother to Group Three-winning sprinter Ringmoor Down, the George Baker-trained colt has brought a decent level of form to the table in four starts - without tasting success.

Nenge Mboko struggled in the same Glorious Goodwood maiden as Huntsmans Close, but that run was sandwiched between encouraging displays at Epsom and Brighton.

Although he could not justify even-money favouritism in Brighton, he showed an affinity towards stepping up to seven furlongs when three-quarters of a length behind the useful Gigawatt a fortnight ago.

Picansort boasts similarly strong claims in division two of the Annual Members Loyalty Handicap.

Peter Crate's highly tried five-year-old seldom runs badly over Lingfield's six furlongs which is reflected in his far superior all-weather rating.

But he did demonstrate at Sandown last time, when he was a game second to Tom Sawyer, that his time may be near again.

Picansort has finished second on his last three starts on Lingfield's Polytrack, yet runs off the same mark here at which he was successful over course and distance in January.

There is nothing to set pulses racing too quickly at Exeter, but at least Changing Times should stick to his end of the deal in the Betfred Best Mate Beginners' Chase.

Gentleman Jeff is a capricious fellow, but should be given another go in the Haldon Handicap Chase.

Lucy Jones' eight-year-old needs robust handling as he is notoriously languid, yet two recent efforts at Hereford, on ground that was faster than ideal, bodes well for this assignment.


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