With over £100,000 in prize money, Exeter Racecourse has been rewarded with a high quality card for its Super Sunday fixture tomorrow.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Finian’s Oscar travels to Exeter with a huge reputation having won Sandown Park’s 32Red Tolworth Hurdle in January, a feat which has made him as short as 4-1 for the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in just over four week’s time.
The five-year-old’s career began with an easy win in a point-to-point in Ireland in October 2016 where interestingly another of tomorrow’s runners, Mr Clarkson, was eight lengths in arrears.
Tizzard’s charge made his novices’ hurdle debut at Hereford in December look like a walk in the park before Grade One success followed in the Tolworth Hurdle. Today he faces five rivals in the listed Freebet at 188Bet Novices’ Hurdle where winning should be a formality.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle qualifier looks set to be a scintillating contest with the return of the David Pipe-trained Red Sherlock who carried all before him at the Festival in 2014, having won all six of his previous starts, to finish ninth in the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle. Pipe also saddles Eamon An Cnoic, the preferred ride of stable jockey Tom Scudamore, who stayed on well to win a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Haydock in December. Also in the line up is the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Ballymalin, the winner of his last three starts, who looks potentially well handicapped on his handicap debut.
Buywise didn’t have the pace for the Hugos Restaurant Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, but the valuable 188Bet Veteran’s Handicap Chase could see Evan Williams’ ten-year-old back among the winners at a decent price. It’s a competitive start to the 2017 veterans’ series, with a case argued for each of the runners including the Tom George-trained who is back in action after a long lay off having won a handicap chase at Cheltenham in October 2015.
Just four go in the 188Bet Graduation Chase, but they include Tizzard’s French import Alary who came with a lofty reputation ahead of his first start on British soil at Haydock Park last month. Excuses have been found for the disappointing performance, and Tizzard will be hoping he gets back on track at Exeter ahead of a tilt at the Timico Cold Cup at the Festival.
His three rivals include the Alan King-trained Carraig Mor, who is engaged in the RSA at the Festival and is returning after a long lay off.
Flying Angel was long odds on to win a novice chase at Perth in September, and he did in style, winning by 16 lengths. He’s been unlucky in his next two starts, falling at Chepstow and pulling up at Cheltenham, but there’s a chance he may return to form here on ground he goes well in the Mobile Betting at 188Bet Novices’ Chase. Harry Fry saddles Charmix, who dug deep to win a novice chase at Hereford last month, while Alan King relies on Minella Charmer who was travelling well until falling at Wetherby in December.
The Champions League Betting at 188BetNational Hunt Novices’ Hurdle kicks off the seven race card where David Pipe’s Mr Clarkson will be bidding for a hat trick having won at the course twice before. He’ll face tough opposition from the Harry Fry-trained Misterton who pulled up when appearing to loose his action at Cheltenham in December having won his previous two starts.