Domestic action has 2 day cards and 2 All Weather evening cards. Exeter and Yarmouth are the main focuses of the day. The jumps will start to take centre stage soon, with Cheltenham hosting their first card of the season Friday.
Yarmouth starts the day with their flat card. The 2nd race interests as a 6 furlong novice stakes. Top of the market and shortening all the time is 2 year old MADE FOR ALL. She debuted in a maiden at Haydock last month and ran a very creditable 3rd. She actually stuck her nose in front in the last furlong but found herself a bit one paced at the line. It’s a very encouraging debut. She was being scrubbed along quite early but kept finding plenty for pressure on bottomless ground.
We go on poor heavy underfoot conditions again today. With the usual cluster of debutants and weak entries Made For All Stands out as a strong market leader. That first run should bring her on and she’ll know the job at hand better today. Ikebana finished 5th in that Haydock race and was quite a large 4.75 lengths behind Made For All. Lady Light has some interesting pedigree but she’ll have to put it all together to challenge on her racecourse debut. Vintage Polly put in a decent course and distance performance back in September but that came on good to firm.
If Made For All can run to her debut form she’ll be a difficult opening benchmark and should shed her maiden tag.
Switching to the jumps at Exeter for our next selection in their 3 mile handicap chase. The class 3 race has quite a tight handicap between those at the top of the market.
Current favourite Reikers Island won a 3 mile handicap chase last season off a mark of 124 and carrying top weight. He then came 4th in another class 3 before moving up to class 1 chases. He was last seen pulling up at Aintree in the Betway Handicap Chase. He’s still sitting 13lbs higher than his last winning mark and I’m keen to take on the 6 year old. Most appealing is closest market rival CRESSWELL LEGEND. Kim Bailey’s 8 year old comes in her 2lbs lighter than the favourite and goes well fresh. It’s also interesting to note usual jockey David Bass has been replaced with 5lb claimer Chester Williams. This ones best form has come on good ground which he gets here today.
This is a question of staying so picking one with a proven stamina over the trip is essential. Cresswell Legend has come 2nd over a furlong further and won at the distance so is looking a solid bet. Midnight Chill is coming up in trip having won at 2 and a half miles last season. Above Board is 4lbs above his last winning mark but he’s another one who can go well fresh.
It’s going to be a tight race but being able to cope with a long layoff makes Cresswell Legend the bet.
A class 1 mile 2 furlong class 6 rounds out selections at Yarmouth. A little 0-65 handicap on testing ground brings stamina to the forefront. Top of the market are Bruyere, who finished only a length behind impressive Deinonychus, and Mac Ailey who won a race on heavy over course and distance 8 days ago. The latter is carrying a 6lb penalty as he tries to back up in just over a week. The former got an extra 1lb for his last effort.
It’s sticking with the theme of beaten by Deinonychus, but looking for more value in the crop. SOCIOLOGIST finished 5th in the same race as Bruyere. He was 3.5 lengths behind the market leader that day but gets a more interesting swing in the weights here. Sociologist has dropped 2lbs for that run and finds himself with an even handier 7lb claimer jocked up. A big change in their carry weights hopefully she’s the gap of 3.5 lengths reduced between an outsider and the market leader.
I’m hoping that Mac Ailey bounces of his recent win, Bolt N Brown is trying to back up quickly as well so could find this run coming too soon. Bruyere doesn’t have a big favourite to bump into this time but might find himself struggling with the weight swing. I’ll take the nicer price from a good draw of 3 with Sociologist to build on that last run and edge a little closer to the places.
The 5th race at Exeter is a Beginners Class 3 Chase. Immediate interesting entrant is SOUTHFIELD STONE. His most notable run came last season at Kempton where he beat the Antepost favourite for the Supreme Novice hurdle Angels Breath. That was a gritty performance that started the question marks over Angels Breath. The 2 did pull a long way clear but Southfield Stone dug in to hold off a late challenge from the odds on favourite. A solid grade 2 win looks the pick of the form in this field.
He was a good jumper over his hurdles and looks one to likely take to fences well. Main rival Thistle Do Nicely has already been withdrawn so it’s looking like an even more straight forward task for the selection to get off the mark over fences at the first time of asking.
Litterale Ci looks better over further than today’s 2 mile 1.5 furlong. The Mighty Don was running over 3 miles last season so this is a stark drop in trip for him and he might be outpaced. I’m forecasting the pace to be set by Southfield Stone. He’ll sit at the front setting his own pace until Harry Cobden feels it’s time to press the button and use a good turn of foot to put the race to bed from horses who are more stayers than quick horses.