Our resident tipster fancies a trio of runners at Exceter this afternoon.
There’s a small but select field of six for this afternoon’s Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter (due off 2.20pm) and they include the 2014 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy.
Gary Moore’s charge is the clear top-rated runner but with this being a handicap he has to carry top weight and, given his struggles last season and the strong likelihood he will need his first run back, he’s opposable at current best odds of 11/4.
Last year’s winner God’s Own deserves plenty of respect on just a 5lb higher mark, but they’ve all got to beat the Paul Nicholls-trained VIBRATO VALTAT. The six-year-old enjoyed a hugely successful novice campaign which saw him win four times, including a Grade 1 at Sandown in December, where he had a couple of today’s rivals, Dunraven Storm and Court Minstrel, in arrears. He signed off by finishing fourth in the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival and he has the scope to take high rank in the two-mile division this term, starting with a victory in this Grade 2.
The rest of the card is pretty decent too and the 3m handicap chase (3.20pm) is just the sort of race I love to bet on. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Belmount has been put in as 7/2 favourite and, given his physique and how well he’s taken to fences, he could well give weight away to all his rivals. However, I’ve been waiting for DELGANY DEMON to reappear and Neil King’s charge will be carrying my cash at a double-figure price.
The seven-year-old was ultra-consistent over hurdles and absolutely hacked up over three miles at Southwell last December on soft ground. It was no wonder then that he found the combination of 2m4f, a sharpish track and good ground all against him on chasing debut at Uttoxeter in May. This is much more suitable test and with his in-form trainer saying in a recent Stable Tour that he’d done “incredibly well” over the summer, you can perhaps understand why I think he’s worth a bet this afternoon.
The opening novice hurdle should prove highly informative as regards future winners as it’s full of horses with potential. Paul Nicholls’ Boa Island is favourite and he could be anything having hacked up in a couple of Irish points before finishing third in an Ayr bumper on his British debut. But Dan Skelton’s WALKING IN THE AIR also falls into that category, having won a Warwick bumper by nine lengths, and he’s just preferred on this occasion with his stable in excellent form.