Charge in for Hobbs’ runner

Free Of Charge is fancied to follow up a recent C&D win

Philip Hobbs trains the selection.

Free Of Charge

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Betting Tip: Free Of Charge @ 85/40 with betvictor

The ground is firming up over jumps and it’s having an effect on field sizes with just 32 horses declared at Exeter, where two of the races will be contested by just two runners.

It’s hardly enticing fare for punters and with the all-weather and a Brighton twilight card the alternatives on offer, I wouldn’t blame punters for giving it a miss altogether. That said, there are a couple of jumpers who catch the eye this afternoon and they could reward support at decent odds.

First up, Philip Hobbs’ FREE OF CHARGE must take all the beating in this afternoon’s 2m7f handicap hurdle (2.30pm) having beaten 12 rivals over track and trip 21 days ago on ground that was officially “good”. That was his first worthwhile form since finishing second over 2m1f here in October on “good to firm” and it doesn’t take a genius to work out he needs a decent surface to show his best, which is exactly what’s on offer today.

The handicapper has raised him 7lb for that success but he’s probably still got a half stone or more in hand and today’s rivals don’t look particularly taxing. The best of them may be Horsted Valley who is certainly capable of what he’s been showing this season and it’s no coincidence he won his sole bumper start on good ground, though his stable is going through a quiet patch right now. Hobbs, on the other hand, is finishing the season with a flourish and the selection, who will have the services of Richard Johnson, can be another winner for him.

Betting Tip: Free Of Charge @ 85/40 with betvictor

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