Eight go to post for the fifth race of the day at Exeter on Monday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Kap Jazz arrives on a hat-trick and Bindon Mill is entitled to go close if his jumping holds up, but this looks a good opportunity for BERTIE BORU to get back to winning ways. He was far from disgraced on his seasonal debut at Cheltenham in November when fifth and things haven’t gone his way the last twice. He was in touch when hampered which caused his rider to unseat at Cheltenham on his penultimate start and a mistake when taking closer order over C&D on his latest start ended all chance, losing a shoe in the process. He’s now down to a mark of 120 which is 9lb below his last winning mark and if granted a clear round, he’s likely to go very close for Philip Hobbs.
1 CAPARD KING – Returned to some sort of form when third at Ludlow in January, back down in class and not beaten far when narrowly behind Valleyofmilan and Still Believing (2m 7f, Good to Soft). Now 10lb below his last winning mark and is clearly well treated, but that win did come in much easier company in a small field affair (2m 7f, Soft). Nevertheless he does have conditions to suit and if building upon that latest run he has to be respected for Jonjo O’Neill with a 7lb claimer taking further weight off his back.
2 TJONGEJONGE – Lightly raced over fences and won at the fifth attempt three starts ago at Market Rasen, winning comfortably in a class four affair in similar conditions to today’s (2m 7f, Good). Raised 12lb for that, he has been struggling since, with two below par efforts at both Newbury and Leciester. Dropped a further 4lb for his latest poor run when weakening tamely but perhaps needs every more leniency from the handicapper if he’s to triumph in this class of race. Place claims at best but remains vulnerable for win purposes for the out of sorts Charlie Longsdon yard.
3 KAP JAZZ – Returned from a three month absence when winning well at Carlisle in February (2m 4f, Good to Soft), readily coming clear with ears pricked on the run in. Raised 7lb, he shrugged off the rise when only needing to be pushed out to success under Charlie Deutsch (2m 4f, Soft). He’s up another 6lb as a result but he’s interesting going back up in trip, though there would have to be some concern that the ‘good’ ground may not suit him. Nevertheless he is a main contender going for the hat-trick and has to be respected for the in form Venetia Williams’ yard.
4 BINDON MILL – Didn’t show much on chasing debut here back on New Year’s Day (2m 3f, Soft) when fifth but when upped in trip he ran a great race to win over C&D two weeks later, easing nine lengths clear. Handicap debut over fences today for Victor Dartnall off a mark of 123 and if that latest victory is anything to go off, he should have far more to give over these obstacles. He has conditions to suit and has to be considered a main contender under Nick Scholfield.
5 COURT BY SURPRISE – C&D winner back in October 2014 off a 6lb higher mark, though his last victory came way back in November 2014 which doesn’t install much confidence. Now at the age of twelve he does turn in the odd good performance, with his fourth at Doncaster in December (3m, Good) proof he is capable on his day. His latest effort over that same C&D though was very tame by his standard and much more is required in this despite being down in class. Others have more crystal clear claims and he’s likely best watched.
6 THEMANFROM MINELLA – Another previous C&D, taking victory here in March 2016 off a 9lb lower mark, but he hasn’t been at his best the last twice for Ben Case. On his penultimate start he looked a non stayer at a marathon trip at Bangor (3m 5f, Soft), though he had no excuse when unseating at Wincanton two weeks ago, jumping poorly throughout (3m 1f, Heavy). Lots to prove at present and although he’s clearly capable off a mark of 121, he can only be given place claims at best.
7 PITHIVIER – Made a good start to chasing when third at Wetherby in a tough looking race (3m, Soft) and was far from disgraced to finish second at Bangor behind an in form Cabragh at Bangor in January (3m, Soft). His jumping let him down on his latest start at Doncaster though, pulled up after two bad mistakes halted his momentum entirely (2m 7f, Good to Soft). Something to prove now for Ben Pauling but as a lightly raced seven year old better can be expected in time, with David Bass taking the ride. Likely to be there or thereabouts and has to be respected.
8 BERTIE BORU – Returned this season when fifth at Cheltenham in November, keeping on well but unable to get involved and things haven’t gone his way the last twice. He was in touch when hampered which caused his rider to unseat at Cheltenham on his penultimate start and a mistake when taking closer order over C&D on his latest start ended all chance, losing a shoe in the process. Now 9lb below his last winning mark, if granted a clear round he look set to go very close with conditions to suit and Tom O’Brien taking the ride for Philip Hobbs. Has to be respected.