30th October 2017

No better place than Exeter to run a classy chaser

Exeter staged a superb card on Tuesday drawing plenty of plaudits from jockeys and trainers alike. The ground was perfect and it was great to see the grade one winning hurdler Yanworth begin his career on a winning note with success in the 188Bet Best Mate Beginners’ Chase.

He’s got mighty boots to follow in, with Best Mate beginning his career in the equivalent race in 2000 with Jim Culloty in the saddle, and going on to win three Cheltenham Gold Cups. His jumping got better the further he went and there’s a chance he may return to the course on November 15 to continue his progression. I also liked the look of Onefortehroadtom who looks to have a bright future following his novice hurdle win.

It was credit to the track that Alan King was so vocal in his praise, saying in the Racing Post that there’s no better than Exeter to run a classy novice chaser.

It’s a lovely galloping track which gives young horses plenty of time to settle, you meet all the fences on the incline, and if a horse makes a mistake, you’ve got plenty of time to get them back into a rhythm before they meet the next one.

Plenty of rain means there have been plenty of runners too. Normally, Exeter’s two October meetings run on much faster ground, but Tuesday’s meeting had its capacity 89 runners and there was a great crowd there too.

Last week’s QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot was brilliant. We saw the genius that is Aidan O’Brien equal Bobby Frankel’s amazing record of 25 group 1 wins in a season and John Gosden’s terrific Cracksman win the QIPCO Champion Stakes.

He’s officially been rated as the best horse in Europe putting him 2lb ahead of his stablemate Enable who won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. It must be pretty special having those two horses in the yard. This year a clash between the two was sidestepped, but there’s talk that they’ll meet next year which would be incredible.

Cheltenham’s two-day meeting begins today, Sunday’s fixture at Aintree features the Grade 2 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase plus there’s racing at Wincanton which celebrates its 150th anniversary. There’s a charity race for Key4Life which will be fun to watch.

Saturday’s fund raising event for Laura Scott was superb. It was packed and so far more than £17,000 has been raised for Odstock Spinal Unit and the Injured Jockeys’ Fund who both supported Laura following her fall in the spring. Luke Harvey and AP McCoy were on great form and well done to Johnson White for putting it all together and to everyone who both generously donated prizes, and bought them.