Nine runners go to post as the action kicks off at Exeter on Tuesday with a selling hurdle, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Both Paddocks Lounge and The Wexfordian bring solid form for the grade into this race and are respected but this can go to Neil Mulholland’s DUSTY RAVEN. He has shown promise on all four of his hurdling runs to date, finishing second on his first two starts over obstacles. On his latest start at Newbury in a class two event, he ran as well as could be expected when leading all the way towards the third last when he weakened and will find this much easier under Tom Scudamore. Conditions are to suit and he can take advantage of this drop in class to take victory. Gambol is likely to be popular after winning last time out, but he was very fortunate and isn’t one to rely on.
1 PADDOCKS LOUNGE – Three time selling hurdle winner this season for Sophie Leech and makes his first start for Aytach Sadik today under Lee Edwards after spins under the champion jockey Richard Johnson. He’s a bold front runner who will give his all but this will be no easy task conceding upwards of 11lb to all of his opponents, though conditions are to suit and there is no reason why he wont put up another big effort. Respected.
2 DEFINING YEAR – First start for Dan Skelton today after some disappointing efforts on the flat last year, though if returning to hurdles in the same form he finished 2015 with, he would have to be considered hugely dangerous. When with Dermot Weld he posted some efforts that would see him clear of these, finishing third in a competitive Galway handicap back in July 2015. Conditions are to suit an Harry Skelton takes the ride for a yard who are going all guns blazing at present, so a huge run is expected.
3 GAMBOL – Ian William’s yard is in equally good form at present and this seven year old got back to form when winning at Stratford in March, though he was helped hugely by the fact the eventual second all but gave up on the run in. Nevertheless it was a good effort off of top weight, though he isn;t on to expect a follow up from looking at his previous record. That was only his second rules win from thirty-two tries and he can only be given place chances.
4 HURRICANE HUNTER – Only three runs to go off under rules and all three of those have shown next to no ability, well beaten on three occasions. On his latest start at Warwick he made a mistake at the first fence and was tailed off by the fifth, showing no promise whatsoever. Hard to make any sort of case for this five year old and he’s best left alone despite dropping into selling class for the first time.
5 MY MATADOR – Maiden after thirteen starts over hurdles and he returned to this obstacles when well beaten at Taunton in March, though that was a competitive race compared to this and he travelled well for a long way. He hasn’t however shown enough on his previous starts to suggest he can threaten, with even his best in Ireland unlikely to enable him to sneak into the places. Conditions and trip to suit but others make far more appeal.
6 THE WEXFORDIAN – Has run well on his last three starts over hurdles for Martin Keighley, going close at Southwell on his penultimate start in February when trying to concede over a stone to the eventual winner. He backed that up with a good second on his latest start over the same C&D and he isn’t lumbered with anywhere near the same weight as he has been the last twice in this. Conditions are to suit and on ratings he is 3lb well in with Paddocks Lounge, so a big run is expected and he shouldn’t be ruled out under Andrew Tinkler.
7 DUSTY RAVEN – Only raced four times over hurdles and he showed definite promise on his first two runs for Neill Mulholland, finishing second at both Fontwell and Wetherby. He never stood much chance at Newbury on his latest start when well beaten in a very competitive race when running as well as could be expected, leading until three out where he weakened. Dropped into selling class, he has a very good chance of taking victory in this with easier competition and conditions to suit. Neill Mulholland’s yard are going well at present and Tom Scudamore is a good jockey booking, so he can take advantage of this drop in class to take victory.
8 PENSION MADNESS – Another who has only had six runs over obstacles and he has shown snippets of promise in his career, though needs much more if he’s to threaten. He placed at Newbury in December when running a big race, though didn’t back that up when well beaten at Bangor in January. He was last seen pulling up in Sandown and although this race is much easier, he can only be given place claims if taking another step forward.
9 TG BOY – Four year old for George Baker who has three bumper runs under his belt, showing promise on two of those runs. In those two ‘junior’ bumpers, he was not beaten but as soon as he was upped to the two mile trip at this venue he was well beaten and tailed off. He should be happier in better ground and he does remain with potential, but others make more appeal and he’s entitled to need this hurdling debut.