Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's jumps action at Exeter.
Waiheke carries a penalty for his recent course and distance success in the opener and while he’s sure to make a bold bid for the double, he might struggle to give 7lb and a beating to FLORAL BOUQUET.
The Jamie Snowden-trained five-year-old finished a good third on his hurdles/stable debut at Towcester in November (2m, good), having improved with each run in bumpers for his previous trainer, and the way he finished that contest suggests he’ll relish today’s longer trip and more testing conditions. His stable form – three winners from ten runners (30%) in the last fortnight – clinches the bet.
Nick Williams wasted no time in sending SIRUH DU LAC over fences at Bangor last month and the four-year-old showed his appreciation by running out a gutsy winner of that well contested class 4 handicap (2m41/2f, soft).
Described as a ‘big horse with lots of potential’, he surely has plenty more to offer and a subsequent 6lb rise, half of which is taken care of by Lizzie Kelly’s claim, is unlikely to stop him going in again this afternoon, especially as he is getting a generous weight-for-age allowance from the older horses and is proven in the conditions.
It’s been a relatively slow start to the season for Venetia Williams with just eight winners on the board, but she had a 9/2 shot oblige the other day and we’re approaching the time of year when her horses start to show their true colours in the testing conditions that tend to prevail.
Her MIXCHIEVOUS has already shown a distinct liking for deep winter ground with his breakthrough win at Chepstow last month coming on ‘heavy’, and the six-year-old looks the sort who can go on and run up a sequence. He’s just 5lb higher for his follow up bid this afternoon, with Charlie Deutsch claiming 3lb off his back, and it will be disappointing if he can’t take care of his ten rivals, none of whom can boast any worthwhile recent form.
All odds were correct at time of posting.