Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Let’s hope so, it was fantastic to see bookmakers and a crowd in attendance at Exeter today. The horses had turned out in force too, an excellent seven-race card to enjoy under what can only be described as ‘balmy’ weather, at least by Haldon Hill standards.
12:25 – Download The tote Placepot App Pony Racing Authority Graduates Handicap Hurdle (Conditionals/Amateurs) (Class 5) (3YO plus) 2m 2½f
16 went to post in the opener, a lovely welcome back for those bookies. The race went to 7/2 from 9/2 chance Espressino locally trained by Chris Down and ridden by Richard Patrick holding on by a diminishing neck from Ella Pickard’s Flutiste. After the race the trainer said that the secret to him had been his tongue tie and hood. He added that he’d been a bit worried about the ground and that he’d be having a break now. He concluded that his charge enjoys his racing but hadn’t jumped so well on today’s ground.
I contacted ‘Inlike’ Flynn in the office after the race expecting a tale of woe but no. They had all eyes on With Pleasure after seeing bets of £15,000 – £2500 each-way £3000 – £500 each-way. John Flint’s gelding only managed eighth but suspect better was expected. Which meant that the money stayed in the hod. Aye Aye.
12:55 – tote.co.uk British Stallion Studs EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f
Is the old racing adage the first horse box you see you back, or is it the trainer? Either way, Philip Hobbs spoke to Jonathan Neeson, but he did nod to me, before the race. It’s a bit tenuous isn’t it? Anyway, it’s all alluding to whether I should have backed Orbys Legend, trained by Philip Hobbs winner of the next. The gelding was ¾ length too good for runner-up favourite The Brass Man.
That was very handy for the firm who’d laid The Brass Man to the tune of £12,000 – £8000, £11,000 – £8000 and £2000 – £1600.
1:30 – Join tote.co.uk With 10 Risk Free Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) (4YO plus) 2m 7f
The office came up smelling of roses after Fergal O’Brien’s charge Huntsmans Jog came out better of the tussle of the 9/4 joint favourites in the next. The reason being, the bigger punters had ignored the cake-loving maestro’s gelding and gone in heavy on Paul Henderson’s Crossley Tender which was half a length down at the line. Bets including £7000 – £3500, £5000 – £2500 and £4000 – £2000 stayed in the hod which was filling up nicely.
2:05 – Download The tote Placepot App Novices’ Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4YO plus) 2m 3f
Before the next race Flynn said that it had been be very quiet on the punting front, adding that it would be all about the ante post prices after the race. It was a given from Inlike that The Big Breakaway was a formality.
The punting public thought so too sending Colin Tizzard’s gelding off the red hot 2/9 favourite. However, 7/2 chance Bold Plan, trained by Evan Williams and ridden by Sean Bowen had other ideas upsetting the hotpot a length and a half. Talking after the race, Sean Bowen said that his horse had jumped well whereas the favourite tended to have a look around. He went on to report that he had been popping away at his fences at then winged the last and that his mount needs a fast pace. Meanwhile Paul Metcalfe, betting in the ring, told me over the phone that at Wincanton yesterday that business had been poor but today it was very good, though was yet to win on a race.
2:40 – tote.co.uk Home Of The Placepot Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 3f
The race before the penultimate saw four fences omitted and an easy winner in the shape of Oliver Sherwood’s 7/4 favourite Sevarano ridden by Jonathan Burke. Flynn reported that the winner was the only loser in the book which included bets of £1500 – £1000 and £3000 – £2000. Oh well, at least the firm laid them at the right price.
3:15 – Close Brothers Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 3m 6½f
All eyes were of course on ’12 Days of Channing Selection’ Petite Power in the penultimate. If you’ve not seen Star Sports challenge to professional punter Neil Channing, click here. Once again, all four fences in the back straight were omitted. Sadly, for Neil and his followers Petite Power wasn’t in the shake-up but what a shake up it was. 16/1 shot Findusatgorcombe, trained by Jimmy Frost and ridden Bryony Frost got up in the shadow of the post to win by a neck from 6/1 chance Dawson City. Obviously delighted, speaking after the race Bryony said that her dad had told her this race was the target despite the gelding being out of the handicap. She added that she her mount started to run out of petrol two out but kept finding enough to win.
Flynn told me they that the firm had kept the cash including two bets of £4500 – £1000 Sizing Cusimano and £2400-400 and £1100 – £200 Petite Power.
3:50 – Watch Irish Racing On RacingTV Standard Open NH Flat Race (GBB Race) (Class 5) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f
All the hurdles were omitted for the lucky last, not because of the low sun but because it was a bumper. Eight went to post after four non-runners. It was a quiet betting heat in the office despite Ian Bartlett saying in his commentary it had been a lively one.
The race went to Colin Tizzard’s Autonomous Cloud the 4/6 favourite, the only loser in the book was Barbarian which finished third. Aye Aye. That’s it, excellent to see crowds back and there was no horizontal rain. Everyone’s a winner. Sorry, almost, Twelve Days of Channing followers, don’t be despondent, it’s only lent, probably, gamble responsibly!
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of:
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