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By Peter Naughton
Quarenta traveled like a dream when winning the 2m5f handicap hurdle at Warwick on Thursday.
Jonjo O'Neill's five-year-old had been caught close home at Worcester when moving similarly impressively over 2m7f.
At Warwick the French-bred gelding was always prominent and led three-out before being ridden approaching the last.
He got in a little tight at the final flight, but picked up well on the short run-in and although hung right in the flat, he ran on strongly.
This was his first win in eight attempts over hurdles and, having defied a 5lb rise for the Worcester second, there is scope to offset another few pounds, especially if stepping back up in trip.
Bertog qualified for a low rating when sixth in the 7f novice at Redcar on Saturday.
John Mackie's two-year-old son of Sepoy was dropped in from stall two but raced keenly and ran up the back of rivals.
Needing a stronger early pace, he ran on past beaten horses but didn't have a hard race, as the leaders had flown.
He previously improved on his debut when mid-division over 1m at Haydock and this colt can surely progress in handicaps.
It was great to catch up with Racing UK colleague Martin Dixon at Pontefract this week, as I was able to ask him about Big Country’s performance in the Cambridgeshire.
Well-backed and drawn in stall 17, Mick Appleby's well-regarded gelding raced on the far side in mid-division but could not improve his place, despite being ridden over two-out.
I asked Martin if there were any reasons why the improving gelding could make no impression in the closing stages and explained: "Big Country didn't handle the track and ended up too wide in the far group without cover. He's much better than that!”