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It’s been given the moniker Super Sunday, and judging by the entries, Exeter’s meeting this weekend (February 11) looks set to live up to its name.
Racing aficionados will remember that it was five years ago that Many Clouds, carrying the famous green, yellow and white colours of Trevor Hemmings, romped to glory in the two miles two and a half furlongs novices’ hurdle. Following that win, he quickly asserted himself as one of the nation’s favourite ever racehorses winning nearly £1million in prize money, including the 2015 Grand National.
On Sunday, Jurby will carry those famous colours in the opening 188Bet Daily Racing Specials National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle.
It’s a race that has attracted a wealth of talent at the entries stage with horses held in the highest regard, like Run To Milan and Air Navigator among those that could run.
The listed In Play Betting At 188Bet Novices’ Hurdle is another feast for Festival fans and those who love racing for the sheer athleticism and power of the racehorses. Among those with Festival entries are the JP McManus-owned, Harry Fry-trained Mr One More, the Colin Tizzard-trained Kilbricken Storm and Shoal Bay, Djingle, trained by Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton’s Solo Saxaphone and Warren Greatrex’ Western Ryder.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle is often used as a stepping-stone for the Randox Health Grand National, with trainers eager to protect their horse’s handicap marks. Among those who could go on to line up in the world’s greatest steeplechase are Dancing Shadow and Third Intention
The first leg of the Veteran’s Series has attracted a wealth of old favourites whose valiant ways have earned them legions of fans. There are top class chasers among them, like the wonderful Josses Hill, second in the 2014 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, winner of Aintree’s grade 2 novices’ hurdle and the Betfred Peterborough Chase; and Harry Topper, a winner of the graduation chase at this meeting four years ago, and whose other wins include the Betfair Denman Chase, the Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase.
Regal Encore, who made such an eye catching effort in last year’s Grand National to finish a staying on eighth, is entered in the three mile Six Nations Rugby at 188Bet Graduation Chase alongside stable mate Fountains Windfall, one of the most exciting novice jumpers currently in training, who is on target for the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at the Festival. That rac is also one of the targets for another of the entries, Elegant Escape. Ramses De Teillee, Mr Mix and Three Ways also hold Festival entries.
The Bet Now at 188Bet Novice’s Chase could be the last port of call for the Nicky Henderson-trained Divine Spear who has made such a tremendous start to his chasing career with wins at Catterick and Ascot. The target for the seven-year-old is the JLT Novices’ Chase, which is also the aim for another potential runner, Le Rocher, trained by Nick Williams.
With such a wealth of talent likely to be on display, sporting fans will be heading to Exeter this Sunday for a feast of top class action.
There are seven races on the card with the first off at 2pm. A free bus runs from Exeter St Davids and Exeter Bus and Coach Station, returning half an hour after the last.