A field of nine go to post for the second race of the day at Exeter on Monday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: This race is full of potential improvers, but none more so than Nick Mitchell’s THIS IS IT, who has shown significant ability on all three of his starts under rules. On his latest start at Wincanton he had no chance again Fountains Windfall but kept on well to press for second all the way to the line, sixteen lengths clear of the fourth. Both his pedigree and those two runs suggest he will improve significantly for this step up trip on handicap debut and should take all the beating off a mark of 113. He can see off both Alfie’s Choice and Schnabel who are two others likely to be suited by a step up in trip.
1 WEST TORR – Started off well over hurdles in early 2016, gaining his first win at the second attempt when comfortably dispatching his rivals in a novices’ hurdle at Ffos Las in June (2m 4f, Good to Soft). he has however lost his way this season, well beaten at Ffos Las on his latest start in February (1m 7f, Soft) when last seen. Didn’t look suited to the three mile trip when tailing off quickly at Hereford in October (3m 1f, Good) and others make far more appeal on this occasion.
2 PURE VISION – Improving over hurdles steadily and posted a career best on his penultimate start at Uttoxeter in December, narrowly denied and perhaps unlucky not to win after a poor jump at the last (2m 3f, Soft). He was however poor at Wincanton on his latest start, nudged along from an early stage and soon very one paced in fourth (2m 5f, Soft). Going up further in trip looks likely to suit and a mark of 113 shouldn’t be beyond him if judged upon that second at Uttoxeter in December. If that latest effort can be forgive, he’d have to be considered a main contender for Anthony Honeyball and is respected.
3 THIS IS IT – Makes handicap debut today off the back of two good efforts in maiden and novice company, staying on at Wincanton on his latest start when third, half a length behind the second with the winner miles clear (2m 5f, Soft). His pedigree and those runs suggest a step up in trip will eek out significant improvement from this five year old by Milan and he looks a very interesting proposition under Daryl Jacob. A mark of 113 looks likely to underestimate his potential and he will take all the beating today with conditions to suit.
4 THE TWO AMIGOS – Had been showing ability in novice company but really came to life on his latest start when upped massively in trip for his handicap debut, finishing second at Taunton three weeks ago (2m 7f, Good). He travelled powerfully and despite being unable to get to the leader, he still showed lots of promise and can improve on that for his second run at the distance for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore. Likely more to come from this five year old and has to be respected off a 4lb higher mark.
5 ST DOMINICK – Ten year old who has spent most of his time over fences, and has been incredibly disappointing in that discipline for a while now. He was last seen refusing to jump the second last at Wincanton when well beaten and has a lot to prove now back hurdling for the first time since May 2015. His mark is 4lb lower in this sphere and his best efforts have come at Exeter in the past, so he isn’t a forlorn hope in terms of places in this for Jackie Du Plessis. Others are far more likely though and he’s a risky proposition.
6 ALFIE’S CHOICE – Far from disgraced on his three runs in novice/maiden company, plugging on at Ludlow on his latest start when fifth (1m 7f, Good to Soft). He goes up markedly in trip on handicap debut and that makes him very interesting, as both those previous runs and his pedigree suggest much more can be expected when he goes up in distance. He’s related to some useful types and a mark of 110 could underestimate his potential for Kim Bailey and Tom Bellamy. Main contender and has to be respected.
7 SCHNABEL – Has shown ability in three runs in maiden/novice company for David Dennis, keeping on at Doncaster on his latest start in a hot looking novices event (2m, Good to Soft). Certainly has stamina in the family but his fourth at Doncaster in January didn’t particularly impress, looking very one paced (2m 4f, Good). More needed on handicap debut off a mark of 108 and others are readily preferred for win purposes, though he’d be no surprise in the places if the step up trip has a really positive effect.
8 ALFRED ROLLER – Well beaten on all of his starts under rules for Jonjo O’Neill and going handicapping on his latest start at Southwell brought about no improvement when sixth and well beaten once again (2m 4f, Soft). Down 2lb in the handicap and he is marginally more interesting up in trip, but it’s hard to make a case for him and minor honours is the best he can hope for in this under a 7lb claimer. Looking elsewhere will pay dividends.
9 BARNEY FROM TYANEE – Beaten favourite when second at Lingfield on handicap debut in January (2m 3f, Heavy), staying on well but outbattled in the end against a more streetwise rival. Upped in trip on his latest start, he tried to make most at Fakenham in February, headed just before three out when fading into fifth and beaten around seven lengths (2m 7f, Good to Soft). That effort certainly wasn’t a disgrace but more is needed in this, facing some rivals who look far more interesting on balance. Place claims if improving on his second run at this trip but others preferred for win purposes.