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Elle Est Belle has fun in the victory of Huntingdon | Race News

Elle Est Belle finished in style to beat the boys in a spectacular revival of the Urban Logistics Reit Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle in Huntingdon.

French Holly (1998), Time For Rupert (2009) and the brilliant Shishkin (2020) are among the previous winners of the Listed competition, and a strong contingent has lined up for this year’s renewal.

The narrow favorite was Richard Spencer’s Wonderwall (7-4) after an impressive win at Doncaster last month, followed by Dan Skelton’s Elle Est Belle at 15-8.

Third behind Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last season, Elle Est Belle had since won at Listed level over hurdles before finishing four behind star novice Jonbon at Ascot.

The course and distance winner, Gentleman At Arms, dictated for much of the way and seemed the likeliest winner on the final flight, where Wonderwall crashed and brought down the undefeated Harbor Lake.

But champion jockey Harry Skelton spoke of a late rattle from Elle Est Belle, who rose to beat the longtime leader by a neck.

“I’m really happy with her. To be fair to Stu’s (Edmunds) horse (Gentleman At Arms), he raced and didn’t deserve to be beaten. He came out on his shield there, so fair play,” said the winning coach.

“I think it was a very competitive race where they didn’t go as fast and it turned into a sprint and they were all there. I think the form of the race will be good. I’m not necessarily saying that it’s all fancy Level 1 shape. They came here with a 135 horsepower pack and they certainly cemented that and a little more really.

On future targets, Skelton seems to lean more towards Aintree than Cheltenham.

He said: “I have to speak to the owners and they will do what we think is best, but my first instinct is to wait for Aintree.”




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