12.03 Exeter: Monmiral
Paul Nicholls is the hottest trainer in the National Hunt game. This season he has saddled 70 winners from 224 runners, which equates to a 31 per cent strike rate which is circa 10 per cent above his usual strike rate and his Monmiral is worth an interest in the opener at Exeter.
Formerly trained by Francois Nicolle in France, for whom he won his only start at Auteuil, he now makes his debut for Nicholls and he could be a class above his rivals.
In that newcomers’ novice hurdle at Auteuil he beat Hell Red, who also joined Nicholls and was a most impressive winner at Chepstow on his UK debut. He did subsequently disappoint when clearly amiss at Cheltenham but the point is that beating Hell Red represents a high level of form.
With improvement on the cards from a red hot yard he must be backed.Bring home the Jumps with a free one month trial of Racing TV. Watch over 65 live meetings from Britain and Ireland on unlimited devices. Hurry, there are only a few left! Click here to get yours now!
12.33 Exeter: The Wolf
This Olly Murphy-trained gelding looks set to be a better chaser than he was a hurdler given his win at Chepstow on his second start over the larger obstacles.
As a hurdler he won a novice events at Newcastle and Fakenham before finishing seventh when out of his depth at the in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.
After that run he had a wind operation and then in a tactical affair was beaten in a two-runner chase at Bangor.
He put that well behind him with a decisive win at Chepstow last time where his jumping for a novice was particularly good and he beat a field who by and large were quite useful hurdlers.
The Wolf is clearly open to improvement in this sphere and does not face opposition that could be said to be any better than those that he met last time out.
He should be backed with confidence to jump better than his rivals at a track where novices can get caught out by the fences and as such he will be hard to beat.
12.55 Cork: Appreciate It
I have put this horse in my Tote Ten To Follow list and therefore feel duty bound to select him here.
I feel that he emerges as the brightest prospect from the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, where he finished second to Ferny Hollow. He travelled like the best horse in the race, if just a little too keen, and as a consequence I believe he got to the front too soon, fully three furlongs from home.
Ultimately he was outstayed, but I firmly believe he may have won if he had found cover for longer and he rates as a tremendous hurdling prospect.
Clearly the Supreme Novices Hurdle will be on his agenda and this is just a start before he moves onto better things and he should win easily given his level of form and the very good form of his trainer Willie Mullins.
2.35 Cork: Gin On Lime
Gin On Lime made her debut for Henry De Bromhead at Thurles in mid-October. It was also her chasing debut and she shaped with a good deal of promise in finishing second to Sapphire Lady.
Connections will have learnt a lot about this mare from that run and a drop in trip to two miles looks ideal.
I also think they will allow her to bowl along in front because when she did lead at Thurles she looked at her most comfortable. She also gets weight courtesy of the mares’ allowance and she rates as a strong bet here.
3.25 Wolverhampton: Poyle Vinnie
Poyle Vinnie looks very well treated off a mark of 77. If this race was at Chelmsford I would rate him as a very strong bet but, even so, he will take some stopping.
His past three wins have come off marks of 82, 85 and 86 which tells us just how well in he is here. Importantly, he comes here looking as if he is finding his form again.
Two starts ago on heavy ground, which is not ideal for him, he was a fine third at Pontefract. He then went to Southwell where he clearly wasn’t suited to the Fibresand and can be rated as being still in form.
He is well drawn in stall 2 and it is hard to ignore his claims back on the all-weather. Whatever happens, keep him in mind for Chelmsford – a track where he has fired some big speed figures.
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