Old Guard pulled up on his chasing debut at Newton Abbot ten days ago when he failed to recover from a blunder at the first fence, but it could be second time lucky for the Paul Nicholls-trained five year old when he attempts to make amends for the error in the 188Bet Best Mate Beginners’ Chase at Exeter today. The winner of the Grade 2 StanJames.com International Hurdle is a high class prospect and things should go progress more smoothly today.
Amateur riders are under the spotlight in the opening ROA/Racing Post Owners’ Jackpot Handicap Hurdle today where the runners include Thomas Blossom who has been mixing it in both codes, most recently at Bath at the end of last month where he was second in a one mile five handicap. Prior to that he finished a staying on third at Uttoxeter over two miles. In the same race Jimmy Frost saddles Ice Kong who had a couple of decent seconds at Newton Abbot in June.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has had a fortuitous few weeks rattling in the winners with regularity and Verygoodverygood could add to the tally in the Ilfracombe Food Service Handicap Hurdle. Ryan Hatch is on board the five-year-old who last ran at Newton Abbot a month ago in a maiden hurdle, going down a neck to Beau Phil over the two miles five and a half furlongs trip. This is his first run in a handicap. Houston Dynimo is heading down the handicap and must be due a win soon, while Stuart Kittow saddles Our Folly, a winner at Uttoxeter last month over an extended two miles seven furlongs, an effort which prompted the handicapper to raise him 7lbs.
Caulfields Venture won the three mile handicap chase last year and he lines up again today, a pound higher in the handicap. Since that run, he’s pulled up in his two other outings, last appearing at Wincanton in May, but a summer holiday may revive his fortunes.
In the same race Jeremy Scott saddles the game mare Miss Serious. Jeremy said: “She had a nice second last time out at Newton Abbot, but she took a long time to get going. I hope Exeter will slow everything up for her and give her a bit of time. She’s in good heart, although the handicapper has put her up 2lbs since her last run, because the winner and the third horse both came out and won. Hopefully she is reasonably progressive as she is a young horse.”
Rock of Leon won his first start for Nigel Hawke at the track 12 days ago, staying on well to win the three mile beginners chase while Easy Street may bounce back to form after a disappointing run at Uttoxeter in July when he started the 11-4 favourite.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Drumlee Sunset kicks off his campaign in the Free Spins at 188Bet Novices’ Hurdle and it would be no surprise to see him step up to better things if today’s outcome is favourable.
After winning a maiden point-to-point in Ireland he won his bumper debut at the track in February 2015. Graded company followed at Cheltenham’s Open meeting in a race won by Altior where he shied at the start, ditching his jockey. After another couple of starts, at Warwick in March he was the resolute winner of a two miles novices’ hurdle before concluding his season at Cheltenham in April in a handicap hurdle.
The Champions League Betting at 118Bet bumper concludes the card with the betting the best clue to the runners chances.