LORD HUNTINGDON has failed to muster a win in three maiden starts but Andrew Balding will surely be hoping a switch to handicap company in the £10 Free At 32Red.com Handicap at Lingfield today can prompt a change in fortunes.
The Lord Of England gelding is not only a home-bred from the Balding family's Kingsclere Stud but also is named in honour of the trainer's uncle and former handler, so connections will be particularly eager to make this one a winner in due course.
Lord Huntingdon finished well down the field on his racecourse bow at Kempton back in November but showed improved form when claiming fourth on his next outing the following month.
He was still eight lengths off the pace that day but narrowed that to just three lengths on his most recent outing at Lingfield, when claiming a creditable second.
Those three efforts see Lord Huntingdon start life on a mark of 67 here and that looks a perfectly workable starting point in what is not the strongest heat ever seen in Surrey.
RAGNER is the pick in the 32Red Casino Maiden Stakes following a fair second place on his racecourse bow here earlier this month.
He was beaten five lengths on that occasion but only really hit his stride when the race was over, keeping on well once any chance of victory had gone.
Ragner clearly has some ability and David Simcock appears to have found an eminently winnable opportunity here.
WHAT A PARTY is no world beater but should be good enough in the 32Red Casino Classified Claiming Stakes at Wolverhampton.
Two wins in 17 starts are hardly eye-catching statistics, but at least Gay Kelleway's charge knows how to win and that is a definite plus.
Second on her last couple of outings, What A Party is one to follow on this assignment.
Nicky Henderson's BUVEUR D'AIR is among the leading challengers for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March so he really should be winning the Racing UK Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon if those kind of aspirations are to be realised.
A dual bumper winner in France, the five-year-old twice finished behind Barters Hill last term, claiming second place in a Newbury Listed heat before having to settle for fourth when upped to Grade Two level at Aintree on his final outing.
Buveur D'Air made a perfect start over hurdles this campaign, seeing off favourite Wait For Me by 11 lengths back at Newbury in November.
He won with the minimum of fuss, with the second franking the form as well as a handful of those in behind, giving the form a very sound appearance. Henderson seemed very keen on him in the immediate aftermath, too.
JOIN THE CLAN can secure his place at Cheltenham with victory in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
Jonjo O'Neill's runner finished a fair eighth in the Pertemps Final at the Festival last year and after a useful run at Aintree in November, a brief flirtation with chasing now appears to have come to end.
Third of three behind the smart Bristol De Mai is hardly bad form, but a switch back to hurdling should suit him admirably.
VIC DE TOUZAINE can strike gold for Venetia Williams in the Start Your RacingUK Free Trial Now Handicap Chase.
He found Bishops Hill much too good when only third at Sandown earlier this month but given that was just his second start over fences, he should still have something to give.
While Buveur D'Air should be on target at Huntingdon for Henderson, VYTA DU ROC can fly the Seven Barrows flag at Doncaster in the Sky Bet Novices' Chase.
He suffered a surprise odds-on defeat at the track earlier this month but a step up in trip looks likely to bring out better in him and the Seven Barrows yard has a decent hand in this division.
DONCASTER: 12.50 Supreme Bob, 1.25 Dashing Oscar, 2.00 Cyrien Star, 2.30 Night In Milan, 3.05 Thomas Brown, 3.40 Big Chief Bunny, 4.10 Quill Art.
DUNDALK: 5.30 Kimbay, 6.00 Sweetie Jar, 6.30 Tribal Path, 7.00 Shark Island, 7.30 Bishan Bedi, 8.00 Excelli, 8.30 Lifting Me Higher, 9.00 Masterchippy.
HUNTINGDON: 1.00 Zanstra, 1.35 Buveur D'Air, 2.10 Mr Muddle, 2.40 Un Ace, 3.15 At The Top, 3.50 Vif Argent, 4.20 Silverhow.
LINGFIELD: 1.15 Schoolboy Error, 1.50 Ragner, 2.20 Smugglers Lane, 2.50 LORD HUNTINGDON (NAP), 3.25 Custard The Dragon, 4.00 Multi Quest, 4.30 Classic Mission.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.45 Queen Zain, 5.15 Smirnova, 5.45 Glan Y Gors, 6.15 What A Party, 6.45 Mercury, 7.15 Overrider.
DOUBLE: Lord Huntingdon and Buveur D'Air.