Lumpys Gold looking to shine bright as Exeter takes the rain
Plenty of rain means there are plenty of runners at Exeter today where amateur riders come under the spotlight in the opener – a two mile, seven furlong novices’ hurdle.
Paul Nicholls saddles his first horse for the Elite Racing Club, one of the most successful owner/breeder syndicates in the country, with Lumpys Gold lining up against 11 rivals. Will Biddick is on board the five-year-old who was bought after winning a point-to-point at Worcestershire in April.
He’ll be opposed by Masters Hill, who hasn’t been seen for a year but will be fit for his reappearance. He won a novice chase at Chepstow in October and then pulled up at Cheltenham three weeks later.
Just four go in the three mile Beginners’ Chase but they include Nicholls’ highly regarded Sonofvic who took a heavy fall at the final flight in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
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Kentford Grey Lady is another very decent type who went down four lengths to Quevega in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Festival in 2012.
Another summer on his back and plenty of schooling could see a turnaround in the fortunes of Brinestine in in the two miles one furlong novices’ hurdle. He scored two successes on the flat in Ireland and then fell on his hurdles debut at Huntingdon last February. A month later he reappeared at Wincanton, and was a well-beaten favourite, but will have been prepared to his optimum for his seasonal reappearance. In the same race, Evan Williams has a potentially nice type in Minella Friend who has done little wrong in landing a point-to-point and a bumper and is sure to go well here.
Nick Williams has his team in good order and The Italian Yob may benefit from a drop back in trip in the limited handicap chase. This is his first start over the bigger obstacles and he looks every bit a chaser in the making.
Ullswater runs consistently well for Andy Turnell, although he may be a shade high in the handicap in the two miles three furlongs handicap hurdle. The Tim Vaughan-trained Amok will handle the ground while Ray Diamond finished third in a handicap hurdle at the course two weeks ago and could improve on that run.
Special Account, who runs in the two mile three furlongs handicap chase, could be the best of Jeremy Scott’s runners on ground that will suit.
Emma Lavelle had a cracking few days earlier this month and although three of her last four runners have since disappointed, The Potting Shed won a conditional jockeys’ handicap chase at Worcester 12 days ago.
He’s gone up 9lb as a result, but Gavin Sheehan’s 3lb allowance could make the difference. Milarrow is another thoroughly consistent type who has won at the course.