Steve Hughes concentrates on the jumping fixture at Exeter for Monday’s two selections
With the cold weather set to bite over the coming week there is going to be limited betting opportunities over jumps, so with the expectation of plenty of bets on the All Weather to come over the next few days I am going to focus on Exeter’s card today, assuming it gets the go-ahead. We had an excellent Sunday with Foxrock winning at Leopardstown (6/1) and For Ayman placing for the each-way bet (advised 9/1).
Exeter 2.50: Queen of the Stage
One of the success stories of this winter has been the blossoming of Lizzie Kelly’s career since turning professional in November. With eight winners already this season (at a strike rate of 32%), she has already doubled her career tally of winners and Queen of the Stage is confidently expected to add to that total today.
The mare is a new recruit to the Nick Williams yard having been privately bought after causing a 25/1 shock when winning a 2m maiden hurdle at Ludlow in November. She had shown precious little ability prior to that in three bumpers and a hurdle so that performance was highly unexpected and clearly impressed the Williams team enough to bring her into their stable.
She has already begun to repay them with a win over 2m3f here defying a penalty to hold off Miss Estela by a cosy looking length. This will be her handicap debut but her opening rating of 117 looks fair and the 7lb allowance that Kelly can still claim will ease her burden considerably.
Exeter 3.20: Somchine
Although he has his quirks Somchine has been improving nicely since sent chasing this season and the dominance he showed over his rivals when winning at Wincanton last time was far greater than the final winning margin of a neck suggests.
A buzzy sort, the application of a hood has helped calm him during his races – he had shown ability, notably when chasing home Kings Palace on his racecourse debut. However he spoiled his chances on other occasions, notably when bolting for a whole circuit of Wincanton before a hurdle race two seasons ago. That he still managed second place that day confirmed his potential.
Having mainly raced on top of the ground in the past, he displayed a real liking for heavy going when winning at Fontwell in November – his first start for 18 months. He then raced just 24 hours later at Taunton and was understandably a little flat when only third. However after five weeks off he bounced right back at Wincanton last time, quickening up well before idling late on. That race was over 2m4f but he has already proved he has the pace over shorter and this stiff 2m1f on soft ground should be fine.
2pts win – Queen of the Stage – 2.50 Exeter – 11/4 BetVictor
1pt win – Somchine – 3.20 Exeter – 5/2 Coral