The highlight of Tuesday’s card at Exeter is the 2.50 Haldon Gold Cup Chase and we have a free betting tip for you to get stuck into!
Last year’s impressive winner Cue Card (5/4 bet365) returns to defend his crown from a field of 6 other useful challengers. The Colin Tizzard inmate dominated the race 12 months ago and will be looking to start this new season off in good style with a repeat performance.
Sent off the 5/6F in last year’s contest, Cue Card’s front-running style allowed him to dictate matters and comfortably beat his rivals by 26 lengths. That performance emphasised his classy nature as he travelled strongly, met all his fences with a good stride and gave plenty when asked a question. He will be suited by both the ground (6 of his 9 wins have been on ground firmer than soft), and by the trip as he excels over an extended 2 miles. Having won on every one of his first starts to date he definitely thrives when fresh and is suited by the stiff home straight on offer at Exeter. He enters the fray with a lofty official rating of 172 after finishing a respectable 4 lengths to Sprinter Sacre in the Grade 1 Melling Chase last season and will be looking to use this race victory as a spring board onto bigger and better things this upcoming season.
Second in the market we have William’s Wishes (4/1 Coral). This Evan Williams representative is unbeaten over fences, a winning streak that started back in October 2010 and included two victories last season in good quality handicaps. He suffered a set-back after winning his last start at Sandown in January and was sidelined by his trainer to allow him to fully recover. This high-quality gelding was one of the most impressive handicap chasers last year and took his official rating to a mark of 153 with obvious improvement still left in him. He seems to be suited by races where he can be switched off at the back of the pack and allowed to lob along. He travels well and has plenty of speed but his inexperience and running style could be costly if left too far in the rear away from the main contenders.
Another progressive chasing type is Fago (15/2 BetVictor) who, as a 5 year-old, represents the youngest challenger in the field. Brought over from France by Paul Nicholls, he won well on his first start in a novice chase event at Newbury last season beating some good sorts such as Colour Sqadron. Subsequently was sent off favourite for his next two starts, where he fell at Warwick and finished second by 15 lengths to a horse rated 14lbs inferior to him at Sandown. His final start of the season saw him finish 5th of 7 over 2m 4f at Aintree on good ground. Due to his age and inexperience he has the potential to improve and even though he could be a good deal better than what he showed last year, there are a lot of negatives that cant be ignored. He is clearly best suited on ground with plenty of give in it so conditions look a little quick for him and he would certainly have had to improve his jumping style, which at times last year looked lazy and laboured.
Next in the market are the pair of Module (6/1 Betfred) and Somersby (8/1 Stan James). The former was a useful novice chaser last year who finished a creditable 4th in the Jewson at the Festival behind Benefficient. Prior to that he won both his starts on heavy and looks one who relishes a good hard slog in the mud. Again, improvement is almost guaranteed as he enters his second season chasing however, with conditions not in his favour and mixing it with better company, he would have to improve markedly to have chance.
Somersby, on the other hand, is accustomed to duelling with the very best as he’s contested 11 Grade 1’s so far in his career; the highlight of which was his victory in the Victor Chandler Chase last year where he beat Finian’s Rainbow and Al Ferof. He has even come up against the unbeatable Sprinter Sacre twice in his last three starts but has yet to find a way to bother the chasing legend. Although he is undoubtedly a good quality horse he is held by a 8 length beating from Cue Card in the Betfair Ascot Chase last year and it is difficult to see (barring jumping errors) how he could turn that form around.
Finally we have the unflattering pair of Kumbeshwar (20/1 bet365) and Mad Moose (50/1 Stan James). Both are untrustworthy horses who cant realistically be backed in this sphere. Kumbeshwar came a distant 10th on his first start this season in a Class 2 handicap and is yet to win in any grade better in 16 attempts over fences. He may well have needed that run but it is difficult to see how he can bother the placings here. Mad Moose is a law unto his own as he regularly refuses to race and until he shows signs of a willingness to race he will continue to remain a blacklisted horse of mine.
All in all, this equation seems blindingly simple – the positives for Cue Card far outweigh the negatives. Although the field is filled with inexperienced progressive types (in particular William’s Wishes and Module) who could in theory pose a threat to the market leader; realistically Cue Card looks to easily have the measure of his rivals. Despite conceding a lot of weight all round it seems that conditions will be perfect for him. Amongst many other positives; the ground looks to be ideal, he is the only horse to boast both course and distance winning form, he is very effective at the start of the season when fresh, and he may well get the race run to suit his style by being handed an uncontested lead. The more I look at this race the more I'm drawn to Joe Tizzard’s mount and the more his price looks to be far too generous even at 11/8. Sometimes the right answer is the most obvious, and the most obvious answer on this occasion is Cue Card.
Horse Racing Tip
CUE CARD (WIN) (5/4 bet365)
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