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  • 15:35 Neptune Investment Management Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle2m 4f 110y

  • £15,000 added 4yo+ 5 ran
  • Winner £9,758 2nd £2,865 3rd £1,432 4th £716
  • Going: Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 5m 7.70s
  • Off time: 15:35:41

Game Aikman outguns Minella

Festival next after game front-running display

Last Updated: 24/02/11 5:39pm

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Aikman: Powered to victory at Huntingdon.

Aikman: Powered to victory at Huntingdon.

Aikman earned himself a crack at the Cheltenham Festival after he lowered the colours of Minella Class in the Neptune Investment Management Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon.

Nicky Henderson had handpicked this race for his Tolworth Hurdle winner Minella Class in order to firm up his Cheltenham plans, but it all went wrong for Barry Geraghty's mount as he could not concede 8lb in testing ground.

James Ewart's Aikman (16-1) made all under the promising Harry Haynes and while the challengers loomed up turning into the straight, he was never headed and powered away after the last to beat the 8-11 favourite by three lengths.

Speaking from Ayr, Ewart said: "It's difficult to know what the value of the form is.

"What I do know is it means we go to Cheltenham now, although for which race I'm not sure.

"We've had a difficult season with the weather which is why he ended up down south, but hopefully that proves we won't be pushovers next month. We're good enough to go.

"He's a good horse and will be even better over three miles. The question is, do I step him up in trip now?

"It will be a late decision and we'll see who is running where nearer the time.

"It's a dream to be going with a horse as good as him. I've never had a runner there and to be taking one with a live chance is great."

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