Barry Geraghty will be on board the Alan King-trained JP McManus-owned seven-year-old who concluded last season with victory in Aintree’s Grade 1 Ryanair Stayers Hurdle.
The gelding is no stranger to the course having won on his hurdles debut in November 2015. Following his easy success he went on to win seven times, including Kempton’s Grade 1 32Red.com Christmas Hurdle, Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle and Ascot’s Coral Hurdle, colleting more than £300,000 in prize money.
His presence at Exeter in a race named after one of the all time greats of racing, the three times Gold Cup winner Best Mate, is another illustration of the track’s reputation as a nurturing ground for the best young horses in training. Clerk of the course Barry Johnson said: “It’s a cracking card and the fact that we have soft ground conditions means they are all coming to play tomorrow and I don’t doubt that some of the runners will play their part in the spring festivals. Yanworth racing here will be a huge draw. Hopefully he’ll follow in the same footsteps as Best Mate who scored his first chasing victory in this same race.”
Lalor, trained by Richard Woollacott on Exmoor and the winner of Aintree’s Champion Bumper in April, makes his jumping debut in the Prydis Novices’ Hurdle where his 17 opponents include Harry Fry’s Onefortheroadtom, the winner of his only start in an Irish point-to-point maiden in April. Another Irish point-to-point winner in the line up is the Colin Tizzard-trained Kilbricken Storm while Philip Hobbs saddles Lord Duveen who is closely related to the classy Balthazar King.
It’s a race, which looks certain to provide plenty of pointers to the future, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Kapcorse and Harefield from Alan King’s stable also among the runners.
The card opens with the Read Noel Fehily At 188Bet Amateur Riders' Handicap Hurdle with Get Ready Freddy, trained by Dan Skelton, making strong appeal off a mark of 90 back over hurdles.
The three-mile Download The App At 188Bet Handicap Chase
Ilfracombe Food Service Handicap Hurdle looks a competitive renewal with the Kim Bailey-trained Dueling Banjos returning after a seven month break with some consistent form on his side, Bindon Mill is a course and distance winner who will be fresh from his summer holiday, Vieux Lille is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles at the course and Umberto D’Olivate is also a duel course and distance winner.
Also in the reckoning is the Tom George-trained Cernunnos is a recent winner at Bangor galloping strongly from the last fence to suggest he can cope with the 7lb rise in the weights.
In the Bet 10 Get 20 At 188Bet Handicap Hurdle, the Victor Dartnall-trained Ambion Lane has shown a liking for the ground and ran well in a novices’ handicap hurdle at Chepstow last March where he finished second while Sutters Mill ran well in defeat at Chepstow earlier this month when just failing to reel in the winner in a two mile five furlong handicap hurdle.
The Free Spins At 188Bet Casino 'Junior' Standard Open NH Flat Race concludes the card with Anthony Honeyball’s Acey Milan, a full brother to the James Ewart-trained Lord Wishes and Dan Skelton’s well bred Significant Other worthy of close inspection.
The first of seven races comes under starters’ orders at 2.20. A complimentary bus service to the racecourse leaves Exeter St Davids at 12.40pm and Exeter Bus and Coach Station at 12.55pm and leaves the racecourse at 17.50pm.