An amateur riders’ novices’ hurdle kicks off Exeter’s six race card today and the Paul Nicholls-trained TheEaglehaslanded will be bidding to follow up his Chepstow win in March on his seasonal debut.
Angelea and Bill Tincknell’s five-year-old won a bumper at Exeter in January and then fell a month later on his first start over hurdles before scoring his Chepstow success in good style. Reigning point-to-point champion Will Biddick is in the saddle.
The David Pipe-trained For ‘n’ Against returns to novice hurdle company having scored a 25 lengths success in a Fakenham handicap hurdle in August. He’s been mixing hurdling with chases and is one for the short list.
Bulletproof scored an easy success at the course two weeks ago and Ken Cunningham-Brown will be hoping the nine-year-old can make it four out of four in the Ilfracombe Food Service Handicap Hurdle.
But he’s gone up 25lbs since scoring his inaugural success at Newton Abbot last month which makes him vulnerable and Prince of Poets could make amends for his defeat at the course on October 8 when he started the 7-2 favourite. David Pipe’s charge had set sail for home, but a mistake three out stopped the momentum and he was defeated seven lengths in third.
Just three go in the two mile novices hurdle and Abidjan could make it a double on the day for Nicholls. He was an easy winner here earlier in the month when a long odds on favourite and another win should be a formality.
An interesting three mile handicap chase is in prospect with a case for all seven runners. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Dursey Sound is an obvious choice. The son of Milan was a half length winner at Warwick in September where he dug deep to hold off Belmount by half a length. He’s been rewarded with a five pound rise in the handicap and Richard Johnson has opted for him rather than the Philip Hobbs trained Danandy, an eight lengths winner at Stratford in July.
Adrenalin Flight ran a cracking race in the Jon Smith’s Sumer Cup at Uttoxeter in June to finish third while Caulgield’s Venture is no mug although the handicapper appears to be unrelenting.
Some flesh blood enters the fray in the bumper with the Harry Fry-trained Water Willow, out of the six-times winning mare Water Flower, likely to start the favourite.
A dry October has meant just two run in the Best Mate beginners chase – Chase The Wind and Dragon’s Den and they are likely to match each other in the betting.