Huntsman Son ran a fine race in Tuesday’s listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for Edgecote trainer Alex Hales.
The nine-year-old finished ninth in the race won by Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard. Huntsman Son was held up by Kielan Woods, chased the leaders approaching three out and looked to have a chance of running into a place before he weakened on the run-in.
It was frustrating he didn’t run into a place, I would have been chuffed had he finished in the frameEdgcote trainer Alex Hales
Hales said: “He ran very well, the weather went against us again and we thought he may not get up the hill. But it was a great run and he threatened to get a place. He was given a great ride by Kielan [Woods].
“It was frustrating he didn’t run into a place, I would have been chuffed had he finished in the frame. His run at Newbury didn’t make that much difference, he’s a tough horse.
“He’s run his race and it’s just a question of whether he will ever get two and a half miles on a stiffer track like Cheltenham. He’s stuck between the two distances, he doesn’t seem to be quick enough over two miles.
“There is a possibility he could go to Ayr now, there is nothing for him at Aintree.”
Hales added that stablemate Smooth Stepper will bypass Cheltenham and head to Uttoxeter on Saturday for the Midlands Grand National.