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Ulster jockey has victory as his Prey

By Nick Robson

Robbing The Prey, with Ulsterman Brian Hughes in the saddle, is fancied to come good in the Racing UK Winter Season Ticket Maiden Hurdle at Ayr.

Having finished runner-up in a Listowel bumper on his racecourse introduction for Emmet Mullins, the five-year-old appeared quite a useful recruit for trainer Nick Kent.

However, he was well beaten in bumpers at Carlisle and Sedgefield and with his hurdling debut at Market Rasen just as disappointing, he was moved to Malcolm Jefferson's yard prior to the start of the current campaign.

He made an encouraging start for his new trainer at Wetherby in October, travelling well for a long way before failing to get home.

It was no surprise to see connections test the water over the minimum distance back at the West Yorkshire circuit last month and it proved a good call, with Robbing The Prey running easily the best race of his short career to date when filling the runner-up spot.

That effort suggested two miles in soft ground suits him well and he should be hard to beat in what does not look a great race on paper.

The step up in trip seems sure to suit Lucinda Russell's Big River in the Watch Racing UK Today Just £10 Handicap Hurdle.

The lightly-raced six-year-old has been sparsely campaigned, winning a bumper and a maiden hurdle at Kelso in 2015 before returning to the Borders track after a year off in October.

While he was far from disgraced in finishing second, he showed there that two miles is an insufficient test for him now and the extra five furlongs here should be right up his street.

Dan Skelton's Some Invitation reportedly surprised connections when he won on his racecourse debut at Wetherby so it bodes well ahead of the Blackmore Builders Novices' Hurdle at Hereford.

Usually newcomers from this yard are strongly supported in the market but he was a relatively weak 6-1 shot suggesting, as was confirmed afterwards, they were not expecting much.

He looks a chaser in the making but if he had not met the second last all wrong he would have beaten the odds-on favourite Monbeg Charmer much further than a length.

Mystical Knight looks an interesting recruit to fences in the attheraces.com Novices' Chase.

Trained by Rebecca Curtis for JP McManus, he looked a nice type when getting the better of General Principle at Navan and he went to the Sefton Novices' Hurdle quietly fancied.

While that Grade One proved beyond him, connections have been patient and this former point-to-pointer can raise his game over the larger obstacles.

Holiday Magic might be capable of defying top weight in the totequadpot Four Places In Four Races Handicap at Chelmsford.

AYR: 12.50 ROBBING THE PREY (NAP), 1.20 Titian Boy, 1.55 What A Dream, 2.30 Hartforth, 3.00 Big River, 3.30 Sam's Adventure.

CHELMSFORD: 1.45 Dazacam, 2.15 Kingofmerrows, 2.50 Holiday Magic, 3.20 Ripoll, 3.50 Kenstone, 4.20 Skidby Mill, 4.50 Istimraar.

HEREFORD: 12.35 Barton Rose, 1.05 Some Invitation, 1.35 Miss Maiden Over, 2.05 Mystical Knight, 2.40 Oscarteea, 3.10 Texas Forever, 3.40 Just A Thought.

Double: Bestiarius and Big River

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