Exeter Racecourse gets into the festive spirit with a competitive seven race card tomorrow where Nitrogen, a half brother to Best Mate and Cornish Rebel, begins his career under Rules in the opening maiden hurdle. The Graham Roach-owned Harry Fry-trained seven-year-old was an easy winner of a 13-runner maiden race at the Eggesford Point-to-Point in April 2012 and since then has been sidelined. He’ll be up against the more experienced Rebecca Curtis-trained Winter Walk who was beaten on his hurdles debut at Bangor last month having finished second in a bumper. Prior to that he was an Irish point-to-point winner.
Seven line up in the Connolly’s Red Mills “Precision Nutrition” Handicap Hurdle with Pull The Court likely to start favourite on his handicap debut. He was an easy winner of a novices’ hurdle at the course last month having started a short odds on favourite and is likely to go well again. The Venetia William’s trained Lochnagor, who carries a 7lb penalty for his easy win at Uttoxeter last week, is also a noteable runner.
Just three go in the Kingsteignton Motors Graduation Chase and there is little to choose between them although with the Nicky Henderson-trained Open Hearted receiving 7lb off Mr Mole and Red Brick, he gets the nod, particularly if you look back at previous form with Vukovar the marker.
Fergal O’Brien saddles Our Cat in the EBF Stallions/Mares Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase and she can be forgiven for pulling up at Uttoxeter in October where she didn’t have the greatest of rounds. She’s won a point-to-point and has ability. Alder Mairi was well beaten at Huntingdon this month on her chasing debut over two miles but the chances are she’ll have come on for the run and the step up to two miles three furlongs may help.
Trickaway is the obvious selection in the Rewards4Racing – Rewarding Your Passion Handicap Chase on the back of his recent success at Wincanton where he made nearly all the running to win by six lengths while the step up in trip should suit Sun Wild Life who was staying on to finish second at Taunton three weeks ago.
Warren Greatrex is having a cracking season and Miss Estela in the 18-runner Racing Welfare Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle is likely to go well on the back of her bumper form. She notched up a brace of wins in the spring and then finished fifth in a competitive race at Cheltenham’s open meeting.
Her hurdles debut comes in a big field and if luck in running doesn’t come her way alternatives include Leaderofthedance and Queen’s Star in a hot looking race. Queen’s Star was beaten a short head in a maiden hurdle at Chepstow in February while Leaderofthedance finished third on her hurdles debut in early November at a time when trainer Nicky Henderson hadn’t got his team into top gear.
A competitive amateur riders handicap hurdle concludes the card with the Sue Gardner-trained Bredon Hill Lad the pick having finished a length ahead of subsequent winner Unefille De Guye at the course last month.