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It was a shame to see the shorter-priced horse of yesterday's two selections come short, but Brides Hill delivered the goods for us at 4/1!
I was confident that the two horses shorter than my selection weren't great, although they were rated higher than Brides Hill. The step up in trip looked like a great plan as she travelled brilliantly, jumped well towards the end, and won with a fair bit in hand.
Exeter 1:40 – Fox Pro 2/1 (1pt)
It does get on my nerves a bit when seeing three-runner races and even four-runner races, especially when there is 10k up for grabs! I've mentioned on more than one occasion that trainers moan about prize money, yet they don't run them in races like this where you could easily pick up a few grand.
With that being said, I think the Jane Williams horse, FOX PRO, who is 0/12 over fences has a great chance. This horse is better than his mark of 120, having previously been rated in the 130s and running well off 126 and 132 in the past. In a small runner race, there is a chance he gets the easy lead of things out in front and I think he is the best-handicapped horse in the race. The trip will be fine and the ground will be good for him as well, he has some decent pieces of form in the past and it's not like he's getting old, he's still an 8yo!
Exeter 2:10 – Prime Time Lady 5/2 (2pt)
Another three-runner race, but once again I think the bookies have got it all wrong with the prices and I can't believe PRIME TIME LADY is the price she is.
Midnight Callisto is the market favourite, but is she really a horse to trust at low odds? I don't think she is. She was a good bumper horse, but hardly a great hurdler, and she's had so many chances to win races but always seems to bump into a few who are better handicapped than her. For me, Prime Time Lady is the value in this race, easily. If you ignore her recent race which was on the back of 200 days and was on chase debut she arrives at this race being placed twice and winning twice, which makes it a no-brainer for me. She won a maiden hurdle and then a novice hurdle, winning in good style on both occasions, and after 6 runs over hurdles they decide to go for a handicap and I think they've found the perfect opportunity. This trip and ground are perfect for her and when you consider how well Mel Rowley is doing with her small string of horses, you know this mare will be fit and ready to go after that run last time out.
Exeter 3:15 – Favori De Sivola 5/1 (1pt)
As all of you will know by now, whenever there is a National race you know there will be a Rizzel tip for that race. I can't help myself, I am a sucker for this type of race and there is often great value to be found.
I understand why people will go for the older horses who might be on good marks, and some of them are even in good form, but in a race of this nature, I think going for the unexposed ones will work out better. FAVORI DE SIVOLA surely has a huge chance in this, as the odds would suggest. He is at the head of the market, but still at good odds of 4/1 and I think that makes him a bet.
He has already won over the C&D, which is a big plus in my eyes, and is 5/13 over fences, so is a horse who wins, which can't be said for the majority of the others, with that kind of SR anyway. I think you can ignore his most recent run at Exeter as that was on heavy ground, and I don't think he enjoyed it that day, but if you look at the race before which was over today's trip, he ran a belter from the front. I don't think he'll be able to fully dictate the race like he did that day, but sitting handy is a positive for me, especially at Exeter, you don't want to be sat too far back as one mistake and you're under extreme pressure.
Warwick 3:00 – In Excelsis Deo 11/4 (1.5pt)
I do think backing IN EXCELSIS DEO is a gamble as he is a horse who has been kept to soft ground in all of his runs in France, and in his sole run in England, but I just think he oozes class at this level and I'll take a chance that the ground won't be an issue for him.
I watched this lad win with a great amount of authority at Hereford on his stable debut for Harry Fry. For a 5yo, then a 4yo, to do what he did against some fairly good handicappers, it was very visually impressive and looked like a horse who will continue to go through the handicapping system and maybe hit Class 1 level.
I'm not totally sure about the trip as he is a smooth traveller through his races, but Harry Fry is a brilliant trainer and clearly knows a lot more about horse racing than I do so I trust him fully. Warwick is a speed track, so his speed will be a great asset to his chances of winning in this. He jumped brilliantly and put in one of the best rounds of jumping from a novice I've seen all year, which was impressive at his age. This is a tough contest, but I think he might already be head and shoulders better than his current handicap mark.
Warwick 4:10 – Muse Of Fire 4/1 (1pt)
Some of you might remember a previous selection of mine, MUSE OF FIRE. I was annoyed about the ride he was given last time around, as he was simply given far too much to do, but based on that I think he deserves another chance.
He was well-fancied at Catterick, but the leader and eventual winner got ahead by 15L or maybe more and wasn't for catching. Muse Of Fire finished second, pulling 8L clear of the third. I was confident he'd win that day, but it wasn't meant to be. They've decided to up him in trip, which I can see why, and though this is a tricky race, I refuse to believe he isn't on a winnable handicap mark of 82. I thought the run the time before last was a great effort for a stable debut, finishing behind a well-handicapped horse, and with now with two runs under his belt he should be 100% ready to go through and get a win.
Exeter - 1:40 pm
2/1 @ Bet365
Exeter - 2:10 pm
5/2 @ Bet365
Exeter - 3:15 pm
5/1 @ Bet365
Warwick - 3:00 pm
11/4 @ Bet365
Warwick - 4:10 pm