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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Antartica De Thaix and Desert Queen renew rivalry in Listed chase

Antartica De Thaix: bids to repeat last year's Huntingdon win
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4.05 Huntingdon
Smarkets Lady Protectress Mares’ Chase (Listed) | 
2m4f | RUK

Antartica De Thaix and Desert Queen, who finished first and second in this race 12 months ago, renew their rivalry in Huntingdon's feature Listed Mares' Chase.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Antartica De Thaix powered clear on the run-in under Sam Twiston-Davies for a nine-length victory that day after Desert Queen had set a strong gallop, but is now 10lb worse off at the weights.

“A fast pace would suit Antartica De Thaix well, and the drier the ground the better,” said Twiston-Davies. “The mares’ programme is very good nowadays, and I hope she can pick up another one of these soon.”

Harry Fry, trainer of the talented, albeit quirky Desert Queen, is hopeful his mare will run a bold race. “She seems well and, if she turns up in a going mood, she should be bang there at the finish,” he said.

Got Away, four-and-a-half-length conqueror of Antartica De Thaix on soft ground at Leicester last month, reopposes on 7lb worse terms, and trainer Oliver Sherwood said: “The weights are slightly different this time, but everything else is right for her.”

Dan Skelton’s Rene’s Girl, winner of two of her three races over fences, including scoring by ten lengths over Song Saa at Doncaster last time, brings a progressive profile into this £75,000 feature and is sure to have plenty of supporters.

Happy Diva: goes for a hat-trick

Another with perfectly realistic claims is the Kerry Lee-trained Happy Diva, winner of her last two starts at Ludlow and Bangor and due to be partnered by champion Richard Johnson for just the second time.

Mariah’s Legend, who has a mountain to climb based strictly on official figures, will be the outsider of the six-strong field, but her trainer Amy Murphy believes she is fully entitled to take her chance.

“She’s a very tricky character, but has bags of ability and is more than capable on her day,” she said. “The problem is you never know which Mariah’s Legend will turn up.”

Foolaad bids for four-timer

The highly-progressive sprinter Foolaad bids for a fourth consecutive Southwell success when he tackles the Betway Sprint Handicap (3.45) under top weight of 10st.

Roy Bowring’s prolific seven-year-old has thrived this winter, and his mark has soared as a result to 95 from 82.

Foolaad (left): completed a Southwell hat-trick but seen here in action at Newcastle

Foolaad’s trainer is upbeat about his stable star’s chances. “I can’t see one to beat him if he’s on form,” Bowring said. “There aren’t many miles on his clock, and he’s still improving.

“My one reservation is that he came back a bit jarred up after his last win at Southwell, but I gave him a nice canter on Wednesday morning and he seems fine.”

Thaqaffa to win again?

Thaqaffa, who has taken his form to another level since stepped up in trip, bids for a fourth straight win in Chelmsford’s Toteswinger Two In The First Three Handicap (8.00).

“He has turned over a new leaf since we stepped him up in trip,” trainer Amy Murphy said. “He’s going up in the handicap, but is in good form.”


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A fast pace would suit Antartica De Thaix well, and the drier the ground the better
E.W. Terms
Sky bet