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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Exeter chase debut for Yanworth

All eyes will be on Exeter today and the chasing debut of Grade-1 hurdler Yanworth, winner of 8 of his 10 hurdle races - both defeats came at the Cheltenham Festival. He wont have it all his own way, as also in the field is solid handicapper Sternrubin who has been freshened up for this jumps debut with a season on the flat. I really like Sternrubin, he's a tough street-fighter of a horse and it will come as no surprise to me if he pushed the fav all the way to the line.

Before I look at the other races on the Exeter card, yesterday I had a detailed look at the 3-mile hurdle run at Plumpton. Unfortunately, as the ground loosened and became good-to-soft, we had a couple of non-runners in the race which included the fav (and my selection) Beneficial Joe , who was pulled-out at 3:55pm just 35mins before the race.  I quickly referred to my analysis on the blog (never rely on memory if you have taken the trouble to make notes) and reinforced my belief that the new market leaders (Clondow Bistro @ 9/4 and Linguine @ 7/2) were able to be opposed and so sought a likely winner. With Invicta Lake @ 6/1 returning from injury and 18mths off the track, I focused on Oh Land Abloom - a 7yo that had a win over 2m7f plus a couple of 2nd's at 3-mile and (according to Racing Post Ratings) was a consistent performer at a level on a par with his OR129 rating. With Linguine trying to make all and running his best race in some time, the strong pace was to the benefit of Oh Land Abloom, and he was going very well as they raced along the back straight for the 3rd time on this small Plumpton circuit and, apart from when he steadied on jumping the final flight, his jockey - 7lb claimer Harry Teal - knew he had the race won. 

I think these stayers hurdle races are a really good betting medium as I'm convinced that very few horses truly stay 3-miles over hurdles when there is a decent pace being set. There are a couple of handicaps at Exeter today, a 3-mile Class 3 chase at 3:20pm with 16-runners, and a 2m7f Class 4 hurdle race at 3:50pm.

The chase handicap looks very tricky to fathom, and the betting reflects this with the current fav being Vieux Lille at 5/1, and while he's a 3-time course winner over hurdles, he didn't look to stay this trip when running over C&D last November. Has Cernunnos finally found his trip at 3-mile following his LTO win? Personally, I wouldn't bet on it despite being on a great handicap mark. I'm not convinced by Duelling Banjos or Bindon Mill, and only Umberto D'Olivate will know if he's going to win today. The more I look at this race, the more wide-open it looks and if you are going to have a wager in it then I think it may pay to go with reliable old campaigner Alvarado who may be 12yo but will stay all day long and 1st-time-out may be when you have to catch him. He's 16/1 with Stan James and he could very easily be among the 1st-4 and may even reach the winners' enclosure with a bit of luck.

The 2m7f handicap hurdle looks more of a betting race to me. I took a look at this race yesterday evening and a couple jumped to the fore: the 6yo Sutter's Mill and the 5yo Waterloo Warrior.
Sutter's Mill stays 3-mile well, in fact he may find this 2m7f trip on the short side, but his negative is that he's a plodder and not improving - but he is consistent. Waterloo Warrior is bred to be a decent staying chaser, and he best race over hurdles to date was over C&D last March when he stayed-on well to be 2nd. The fav for the race is the 5yo mare Midnight Glory who was last seen coming 3rd to Beer Goggles, and that (in hindsight) looks decent form, and she could be well-in running off OR113. Of the others, I'm surprised Dreamsoftheatre is at 10/1 for this as we know he stays very well, and he's usually consistent, plus he won LTO over 3m1f.  Up 9lb for that win to OR114, my doubt is that the trip may be a tad too short and the ground may be a bit soft.
All-in-all a tricky race to fathom but I liked the way MIDNIGHT GLORY was ridden LTO by Richard Johnson, who takes the ride again today, as it was a confident effort but (unfortunately) he met an exceptionally well-handicapped winner that day in Beer Goggles.

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