The new season gets underway at Exeter today with the first of seven races coming under starters’ orders at 2.10pm.
Plenty of rain in recent weeks means that unusually for the time of year, the ground is good to soft, soft in places which has lead to a bumper 80 runner card. The first division of the Download The App at 188Bet Novices’ Hurdle has been split with a fascinating opener in prospect. Plenty of potential stars are in the line up including the Emma Lavelle-trained Eniscoffey Oscar and Harry Fry’s If The Cap Fit.
The pair concluded their season in Aintree’s Grade Champion Bumper in April finishing second and fourth with just a nose and a neck between them. The former had won a bumper at Fontwell in February with The Queen’s second placed Take To Heart subsequently winning twice over hurdles. If the Cap Fits was the impressive winner of his two bumper starts at Fontwell and Taunton, staying on strongly each time.
Ten times champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls has three entries on the card with Blu Cavalier entered in the opener. The seven-year-old runs in the well known pink and black colours of Westcountry owners Bill and Angela Tincknell and returns to action after a long lay off having won a bumper for Alexandra Dunn in the autumn of 2015.
In the second division, Challico, the winner of his only start at Exeter in the spring of 2016, also runs in the Tincknell colours. Opposing him are Irish point-to-point winners Good Man Pat and D’Arcy’s Sound, trained by Alan King and Venetia Williams respectively.
A change of scenery for Steely Addition in the Great Point Media Handicap Hurdle might work in his favour. The five-year-old ran well in defeat for Hugo Froud prior to switching to Philip Hobbs and has his first start in a handicap. Alan King’s Hidden Cargo, another entry, has been running well in defeat and should go close too.
The Blackmore Vale Syndicate’s ultra consistent Third Act, second on his last start at Newton Abbot, lines up in the Bet 10 Get 20At 188Bet Handicap Chase where he’s opposed by Barton Rose, an easy winner at Uttoxeter a month ago, and the Jeremy Scott-trained Moorlands Jack who cruised home to a 14 lengths success in a 2m5f handicap chase at Newton Abbot in September.
Coastal Tiep will start a warm favourite in the four runner beginners’ chase, run over three miles, on his first start over fences with Wotzizname likely to find further improvement on his chasing efforts last season.
An interesting race is in prospect in the Free Spins At 188Bet Casino Novices' Handicap Hurdle with stable mates Chantecler and Cool Charmer likely to head the market. The former has picked up one win in 29 starts on the all-weather, but he always runs his race, while the latter ran on well for second at Ffos Las in April. Also for consideration in a competitive handicap is Ben Case’s King’s Temptation who went close on his handicap debut at Uttoxeter in June.
In the NFL Betting At 188Bet Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle a more restrained ride for Magical Thomas may see him come home in front after fading on the flat to finish third last time out. Before that he’d made all to win at a 2m11/2f handicap hurdle at Fontwell.
The first race is off at 2.10pm. A complimentary bus service to the racecourse leaves Exeter St Davids at 12.30pm and Exeter Bus and Coach Station at 12.45pm and leaves the racecourse at 17.20pm