A high-quality seven-race jumps card takes place at Exeter on Friday afternoon, Nov 10th, between 12.35 and 16.00.
Undoubted highlight of a cracking card is the Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup, won in the past by plenty of huge names, among them Best Mate and Cue Card.
13.10 – Jersey Lady @ 4/1
A cracking mares’ handicap hurdle, over 2m 5+f. Lambourn-based Harry Derham is making a big splash in the training pool and this 7-yr-old has a regular pilot in the form of amateur Miss Victoria Malzard. Harry has just taken the horse from the retiring Oliver Sherwood, and has inherited a very promising, consistent performer.
Horse and rider are on a four-timer, and Jersey Lady gets further than this trip which can be a massive plus. The handicapper has only raised her 3lb for the last success at Fontwell, and that was in high summer – so she should be fresh and rested. The change of scenery could be a little tonic, too.
Ring-rust could of course be a factor, and Derham’s had next to no time to work his magic – but one has to take on trust the fact that she’s been pleasing the trainer at home in the limited time he’s had her. Lovely race, small stakes.
15.30 – Solo @ 5/2
This is a far more confident shout. The master trainer P Nicholls is no stranger to the excellent Grade 2 Haldon Cup, and in Solo fields a talented individual that races off just 10st 10lb given the presence of 165-rated Editeur Du Gite, who has a big task on, carrying the steadier of 11st 12lb.
Nicholls will have targeted this I’m sure as a cracking pot to potentially nab (circa £47,000), en route to various challenges to come. He’s already a better chaser than hurdler, and at 7 rising 8 is nicely in the ‘glory years’ slot.
He’s gone very well fresh on both of the last 2 years when reappearing in the autumn, and I’ll be disappointed if he’s not bang there on Friday. One of the kind of contests that confirms the National Hunt season is ramping up beautifully.