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This might be his ideal test

Exeter 12:20: Itacare 1pt win 12/1

Itacare is having his fourth start for David Pipe in this staying handicap hurdle and I think this is the first time that he’s had a scenario that could suit him.

He started his career in France and won twice, the second of those coming in a claiming chase at Auteuil after which he was claimed for €23,111.

The worry when he went chasing over here was how he would take to the different style of fences. That concern played out to some extent at Fontwell but far more so at Newton Abbot when he did well to finish 7½ lengths behind the winner given how he jumped.

Itacare was switched back to hurdles last time at Taunton over 2m3f on good ground and after a slow jump at the first, he was always on the back foot but kept plugging away to finish ninth.

That was far too sharp a test for a horse whose strong suit in France looked to be stamina and it may be that this attritional test will allow him to bounce back to the level of form he achieved in France.

There is a concern that he’s clearly not an easy ride and might just not put it in and the market has corrected itself to some extent regarding his chance but I think he’s still a bit bigger than he should be and any 10/1 or bigger appeals.

Thorough test in the mud to suit

Exeter 12:50: Illegal Model 1pt win 6/1

Illegal Model got no further than the second fence on chasing debut at Kelso when Torigni fell in front of him and he had nowhere to go, unseating Brian Hughes.

Prior to that, he had shown a level of ability over hurdles that suggests he can run very well in this race. He was a winner in the mud on rules debut at Lingfield and ran well in defeat in three staying handicap hurdles off marks between 130 and 132.

He was beaten further when sixth on his last start over hurdles over 2m4f at Uttoxeter but I think he was always working a bit harder than ideal to maintain his position at the front over that shorter trip so that can be excused.

Illegal Model is very much a chaser on looks and I think the test of stamina that this track provides should be ideal for him so he looks to have a good chance of getting off the mark over fences.

He does have less chasing experience that all of his rivals and I do fear Fuji Flight (although he might be better going left-handed) but I think the market is underestimating his chance and any 5/1 or bigger appeals.

Showed promise when very green on debut

Exeter 16:05: Marty Byrde 1pt e/w 20/1

Cruz Control heads the market for the bumper and rightly so after a promising debut at Chepstow but a horse who ran in the other division of the bumper that day appeals at the prices.

Marty Byrde was bronking for the first few strides after the tape was released before settling down in midfield. He looked to race a bit awkwardly down the back straight and was shuffled back on the final turn. He raced greenly when shaken along early in the home straight but he responded well and ran on without ever challenging the leaders to finish fifth while still looking inexperienced.

The first two home that day had already shown a good level of ability in bumpers and an Irish point while the third has won on hurdling debut since and the sixth finished second in a Ffos Las bumper since.

Marty Byrde was racing on the more churned up ground towards the middle of the track in the straight which wasn’t ideal and given how green he was I think there’s a chance that he could make significant improvement today.

It might turn out that he’s just not a straightforward ride but he’s been completely ignored by the market in a race that I think lacks depth in quality and any 12/1 or bigger appeals.





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