Only three line up for this Class 2 chase into today’s feature race at Exeter with £12,512 on offer to the winner. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: This should boil down to a match between L’Ami Serge and LE PREZIEN. Nicky Henderson’s charge was a top hurdler and has made into an equally good chaser with fine runs at both of the last two Cheltenham Festivals. He should go well here on his comeback and his jockey is in the form of his life currently. He may just bump into one today with Paul Nicholls’ horse having a fitness edge over him. Not as top class as his rival over hurdles or in chases but he has good form at Grade 1 level, is a Grade 2 winner himself, and has good form already this term over fences. A good jumper, he can serve it up to the likely favourite and just edge what should be a cracking race.
1 L’Ami Serge – Three-time winner over hurdles at 2m and landed a hat-trick in fine style at the start of last year, picking up the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle by fourteen lengths from Jolly’s Cracked It and finished his hurdling career when a decent fourth behind Douvan in the Supreme Novices Hurdle before sent chasing. Won back-to-back races at the start of this year over fences, picking up a Class 3 at Plumpton (Heavy) and then a Class 4 at Wetherby (Heavy), both in facile style. Third in the Grade 1 JLT Novices’ Chase at this years’ festival, four lengths behind Black Hercules and finished a good runner-up on his last start at the Aintree Festival, eight lengths behind Arzal in the Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Chase. Has done most of his racing on Soft-Heavy ground so will enjoy conditions here today. High-class on his day and still looks open to progress whilst Daryl Jacob has been riding plenty of winners recently for Nicky Henderson and these connections. Should go well but has an absence of 252 days to overcome against a match fit rival.
2 Le Prezien – Lightly-raced for his age but back-to-back winner of Class 4 hurdles at the end of last year and start of 2016 at Ludlow and Doncaster both on soft ground. Finished runner-up in a Grade 2 at Haydock (Soft) just behind Its’afreebee, who has been prolific since, and then landed a similar event next time at Kelso (Soft) when an easy three-length winner. Runner-up to Yorkhill in a Grade 1 at the Aintree Festival upped to 2m4f and sent chasing this Autumn, has already finished runner-up to the very smart looking Charbel at Uttoxeter before winning by four lengths in the Grade 2 Arkle Trial at Cheltenham last month, both over 2m. Very good jumper who should appreciate this slight step-up in trip and he looks to be a big threat to L’Ami Serge. JP McManus has been having a fine time of things with his horses recently and he has a big chance with a fitness edge over his market rival.
3 Oscar Sunset – Five-time winner over hurdles up to Class 3 level and won on his third start over fences when a ready winner at Chepstow (Heavy) in February. Has struggled in his last two starts upped in trip and grade and looks well held by both of his rivals on all form. Hard to fancy here but could pick up place money if one of the market principals come undone.