Exeter Racing Report 06/04/21

We had snow, sunshine and hail, and that was all before the first up on Haldon Hill. Still, it is was great to back on the turf up at Exeter. Fields weren’t as big as previous meetings but some decent action to look forward to none the less.

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The opener was a competitive looking heat. The money was for Theatre Mix backed from an early 9/4 into 7/4 with Hazzaar the second-in at 10/3. There was still all to play for approaching the last with five in a bunch, but over that obstacle Dog of War and Hazzaar had made the race their own. Ultimately Dan Skelton’s charge Dog Of War under Harry Skelton that took the race, by three and a quarter lengths. The market got it wrong, the winner had been easy to back taking a walk in the market from 5/1 to an SP of 17/2. After the race Harry Skelton said that the gelding hadn’t been out for a while but did it well. He added that he’d been schooled extensively at home and that they’d taken their time with him as he doesn’t like deep ground and that the owner’s patience had been rewarded.

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They bet 7/2 the field for this seven-runner event, had there been bookies on course it would have been a lively heat. Both Lightonthewing and Avoid de Master both showing up as favourites in their turn in the industry prices in the ‘show’ betting. Neither of those troubled Guy Lewis the judge. The race went to Nicky Henderson’s 15/2 chance Steal A March under Nico de Boinville from Chris Honour’s Hot Ryan, the latter backed from 16/1 into 12/1. There were a smattering of owners here today but a lack of Royal Standard flying over the course suggested that the winner’s, Her Majesty The Queen, wasn’t present. Hopefully she was tuned in to Racing TV at Windsor though because she’ have enjoyed the way her gelding battled on to win by just over a couple of lengths. Winning jockey Nico de Boinville said after the race that the ground had been quick enough for his mount today, adding that he’s the sort of horse that needs ‘making his mind up for him’. He went on to say that the winner loved his jumping and saves a bit for himself so had to kid him but didn’t want to get in front too soon.

City Of Exeter Challenge Cup Handicap Hurdle

Fergal O’Brien, The cake-loving trainer was the first person I saw when I got on course. His charge, Art Approval was the warm favourite for this five-runner feature race The jolly did the business ultimately winning the richest race of the day to jubilant scenes from trainer and staff. Mind you, backers of odds-on shots probably hope for a little less excitement. He returned 10/11 having been a last show even money as far I as could see as they set off. I wouldn’t have got rich backing the gelding had I followed the old adage that you should. Winning jockey Paddy Brennan admitted after the race, ‘I was in trouble, tactically it was a tough race, with good race riding by the lads around me’. He said that the winner, which beat 20/1 outsider Paso by two and a quarter lengths, is getting stronger, wants a trip and will improve as he gets one. The winner is the owner, Mr Rupert Lowe’s first racehorse so an important winner especially as he’s the yard’s landlord. That’s number 93 for a yard on their quest for 100.

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Another five-horse heat where the racing was exhilarating despite the lack of runners. Chris Honour’s charge Troed Y Melin was shortened in the market from 8/1 into 4/1 at the off, SP 7/2. That trimming proved handy for the bookmakers as the gelding won by seven lengths from Philip Hobbs’ Vango de Vaige. Post race, winning jockey Bryan Carver enthused about his mount’s brilliant jumping, adding that he’s ‘rapid from A to B’. He told Racing TV that having won here back in October over 2m 3f they knew that he’d enjoy today’s going ‘Good to From, Good in Places’ and that his trainer had got him back to top form. Bryan concluded that he’d known the horse for a long time having ridden in point-to-points and that he’s always been a tough little fella and a joy to ride.

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The race before the penultimate boasted the biggest field of the day with nine-runners and went to the biggest price of winner of the day too. The Helen Nelmes’ trained Jamie Moore ridden winner Itsaboutime would have had a packed betting ring cheering coming home in front at big odds. The last price I saw the winner was 28/1 so its SP of 50/1 was a nice surprise for anyone who backed the gelding. It’s fair to say that having it’s first run for 17 months and running from out of the handicap there probably weren’t many takers. That especially as a hood first time on hurdlers is a negative statistically too, though maybe a win at that price has changed those stats. Had the much-missed bookmakers had been here it’s a fair wager that at least one would have been shouting the celebratory rubdown of ‘Pay Pay’ whilst looking lovingly at a skinned book.

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The brace of concluding races had looked likely to be boasting long odds-on shots a piece. When live betting started, the morning favourite Falberto, priced at around 8/15 early, took a very ominous walk. All the way out to 10/11 just before the off. In contrast, market rival Good Bye, a 9/4 chance when I arrived on course was a ‘half-arm’ 6/4 shot having been steadily backed. The race was ultimately between those two, the market got it right, but wrong. The weak favourite prevailed after a hard-fought battle with gambled-on Good Bye by three-quarters of a length. 3lb claiming winning jockey Fergus Gregory on Jake Coulson’s charge was all out to fend off the second-in under Harry Skelton. Both pilots certainly earned their fees.. This time it was for short-priced favourite BOG-backers in for as nice SP surprise. Connections had to go to £11,000 in the subsequent auction to keep their horse.

Totnes And Bridgetown Races Company Ltd Open Hunters’ Chase

The concluding Hunters’ Chase had only five runners and looked to present an easy task for the Will Biddick ridden Chameron sent off the odds-on 4/9 favourite. That’s not how it turned out though, not even the magic of Will Biddick could muster a win out of the jolly. He eventually went down by two and quarter lengths behind 11/4 second-in Wick Green, trained an ridden by Mr Peter Mason. The winner had been around 5/1 this morning so not all bad for some punters at least, concluding the afternoon’s sport.

I’ll be covering the Grand National meeting’s betting news for Star Sports, starting on Thursday.

Simon Nott

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  1. why
    06/04/2021 at 6:02 pm

    what..no hefty 100k bets “in the hod”

    give it a rest..no body is interested

    • Simon Nott
      07/04/2021 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply. x