Noel Williams’ Moviddy looks to continue her ascent in the British EBF BetVictor ‘National Hunt’ Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.
The seven-year-old made her hurdling debut at Exeter in November, finishing third behind two subsequent winners in Annie Magic and Lutinebella.
In February she took a Lingfield maiden by nine and a half lengths before heading to Doncaster to finish a close second to the reopposing Ilovethenightlife in a novice run over a trip just short of two and a half miles.
This weekend’s distance is therefore proven and Williams is hopeful that the going will provide no issues, either, with conditions expected to be fairly testing after heavy midweek rain.
“She’s just done nothing but improve all season, she had a long break after her race at Exeter in November as we had a few little issues, but since then she’s done nothing but improve,” he said.
“She feels like she’s come on again for Doncaster, she ran a mighty race but she had to cut out her own running really, which wasn’t ideal.
“I think a competitive handicap around Newbury will suit her down to the ground, provided she handles what I would imagine will be very soft ground, which I think she will.
“I’d be hopeful she can run a very good race, I think the conditions of the race and the way it will be run should really suit her.”
He added: “We like her a lot, she’s exceeded the expectations we had before the start of the season and she’s kept on improving, so we’re hoping she’ll show up very well.”
Moviddy is owned by Noel Fehily Racing Syndicates, who have a second runner in the contest with Dan Skelton’s Royale Dance – an Irish point-to-point winner who has not been out of the first two in a bumper and three hurdles since.
Mark Walford’s Ruby Island lines up after a successful campaign so far, placing in two bumpers, included a Listed Cheltenham event, before winning her first two starts over hurdles decisively.
Taking an Ayr maiden by seven and a half lengths on hurdles debut, the chestnut was then a five-length winner of a Wetherby novice before stepping up in trip to go down by just a neck to a good filly last time out.
This represents a stiffer task at Grade Two level, but hopes are high.
“We were pleased with her run at Ayr. If things had gone differently she would have won, but she wandered up the run in and missed the last,” Walford said.
“She still finished well, we’ve put some cheekpieces on for Saturday and we’re hopeful of a good run.
“The ground will be a bit of an unknown, but she’s in good form and we’re expecting her to go well.
“With 18 runners they should go a good pace, which will suit her well – she seems like a strong stayer. She’s been very efficient over her hurdles, she just missed the last at Ayr but you can forgive her for that.
“It’s exciting to have a runner in a Grade Two going in with a chance. We were in here and in at Kelso and we thought we’d take a chance, it’s not often you’d be nearly favourite in a Grade Two, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Ilovethenightlife is among the leading lights, along with Aubis Walk, Lets Go To Vegas, Blue Beach and Energy One.
There is a valuable National Hunt Flat contest on the same card in the Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper, open to horses sold through the sponsor’s 2022 Spring Sale and worth £100,000 in prize-money.
Paul Nicholls has a contender in Summer Brise, a Kapgarde filly who was the fifth most expensive lot at the sale when changing hands for £110,000.
The trainer told Betfair: “She’s an attractive four-year-old filly who does everything nicely at home without setting the world on fire.
“While she is ready to start, I’d say she is bound to improve for the experience and will be better and stronger in a year’s time.”