sport

Easter party at Huntingdon

Easter Day strolled to victory at Huntingdon on his way to tougher future targets.

Jockey Daryl Jacob said that he felt the horse could be the perfect type to excel at Aintree in April after his win in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon.

The Paul Nicholls-trained youngster was a standout on the formbook, having finished second to Jonjo O'Neill's Taquin De Seuil in a Grade One at Newbury.

Because of that he was sent off the 4/9 favourite for the race better known as the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle - despite giving plenty of weight away to all his rivals.

Jacob had already won on the five-year-old at Fontwell and Ascot and took his tally to three from three on him with an all-the-way four-length success over Nataani.

Nicholls had taken him out of the Cheltenham novice events earlier in the week, but Jacob feels Aintree could be perfect for him.

"He's a very good novice," said the jockey. "It wasn't ideal making all the running on him but when we realised nothing else would go on we decided to just keep it as straightforward as possible.

"He'd won over further so I was prepared to go on.

"He'll have learned a lot. He's not going to Cheltenham so I imagine it will be Aintree for him.

"That should suit him well there as it's usually lovely ground."

Jacob had earlier won on David Arbuthnot's Rocky Elsom in the TurfTV Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

Sent off at 9/2, he had only been put up 3lb for a Plumpton win and there appears to be more to come still.

Punters would do well to keep in mind when Jacob teams up with Arbuthnot as the pair now operate at a strike-rate of over 25%.

"Rocky is improving and the better ground is helping him," said the rider.

"The tongue-tie obviously makes a difference and he's on an upward curve. The front two pulled a long way clear."

With the Cheltenham Festival rapidly approaching, Nicky Henderson showcased that his string are peaking at just the right time with another double.

Fresh from two winners at Doncaster 24 hours earlier, Henderson was on the mark with Tetlami (11/10 favourite) in the Huntingdon Racecourse Novices' Chase and Miss Ballantyne (3/1) in the racinguk.com Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Tetlami had proved no match at all for Overturn at Musselburgh on his last start and his supporters faced an anxious moment here as he came off the bridle going down the back straight.

After being given the hurry-up by Barry Geraghty, he soon came swinging round the field on the outside.

And by the time they hit the straight, Tetlami had the race won, although he needed to be kept up to his work to beat Tony Star by three lengths.

Henderson and Geraghty also teamed up with Miss Ballantyne to beat 13/8 favourite Floral Spinner by two lengths.

Andrew Thornton proved there is no substitute for experience in partnering Denali Highway (6/1) in the John Bigg Oxo Handicap Chase for Caroline Bailey.

He looked cooked between the last two fences as Sir Frank cruised into contention, but Thornton kept on pushing away to eventually run out a half-length scorer.

The winner was defying a 10lb rise and relished the longer trip.

Freddies Return (11/8 favourite) won the hunters' chase and could head to Aintree if the ground stays soft, while Crystal Swing (8/1) claimed the concluding rewards4racing.com Handicap Hurdle.