It’s a five runner affair for the third race of the day at Exeter on Friday, though there are some potentially classy horses on show. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: The switch to fences has prompted huge amounts of improvement from WILD WEST WIND, who looks hard to beat today after his win at Hereford on his latest start. He stays this trip very strongly and with lots of potential still left, he can continue this fine spell for Tom George and Adrian Heskin gain his third successive chasing success. Label Des Obeaux gained his first victory over fences at the fourth attempt, but is likely to struggle against the aforementioned rival who is much more progressive.
1 LABEL DES OBEAUX – Rated 137 over hurdles and transferred that ability to chasing, finishing a good second to American over C&D on his chasing debut. He hasn’t however gone on for that, producing three very similar efforts since that run. He was unable to land a blow at Cheltenham in December (albeit in better company) and he was disappointing when second at Lingfield in January (2m 7f, Heavy). His first win came at Ludlow two weeks ago (2m 7f, Soft), but it was a somewhat facile success and at odds of 1/3, a race he really needed to win. He comes up against a very progressive rival today and may again struggle to land a blow for Alan King, as he will need to improve to challenge which is something he hasn’t done thus far over fences. Likely to be the main challenge to the selection but should just fall short.
2 WILD WEST WIND – Winner over hurdles and rated 123, but came into his own when switched to fences and comfortably dispatched his rivals at Wincanton on chasing debut (2m 4f, Soft). Showing a huge amount of improvement, he made it two from two over fences when winning at Hereford two weeks ago (3m 1f, Heavy). Clearly highly progressive and is in his element now over the larger obstacles, with this trip and today’s conditions perfect for another big run. Both Tom George and Adrian Heskin are going through a brilliant spell and that can be continued with this eight year old by Westerner, as any sort of progression from that last run will see him away and clear here.
3 IN THE ROUGH – Has some good form in the book including a win at Uttoxeter back in September (3m, Good) but has struggled in the main since then, with three poor efforts. His latest ninth at Uttoxeter was a career low over fences (2m 4f, Heavy) and he needs to get back on track today. He’s still 4lb above his last winning mark over fences and although conditions and the trip are fine, he looks likely to struggle and cannot be recommended.
4 HERBERT PARK – Rated 134 over hurdles and was a three time winner, but he’s been well beaten on both occasions over fences thus far. He travelled well to a point on chasing debut at Uttoxeter (2m 4f, Heavy) but suddenly lost his place and weakened out of contention very quickly. The same thing happened at Newbury in January (2m 7f, Soft) when upped in trip, as he lost his place very quickly at quite an early stage and was never travelling after. It’s hard to know what is causing this issue but this isn’t any easier than his previous starts and he looks up against it again today.
5 UGOLIN DE BEAUMONT – Lightly raced nine year old who wasn’t disgraced on chasing debut when fourth at Exeter, running well for a reasonable part of the race but pulled up at Chepstow on his latest start when upped to today’s distance. Hard to make any sort of case for him today and he looks likely to be struggling from a long way out against tougher opposition than he faced on his latest start. Easily dismissed.