3:45 Exet – 1.5pts win March Is On @ 7/2 (Betfair, Paddy Power – 10/3 ok)
4:15 Exet – 0.75pts e/w Queens Present @ 33/1 (BetVictor, Coral – 28/1 ok)
Total staked 3pts
Smarty Wild (14:15 Exeter) looks a solid start to Tuesday’s card on Haldon Hill having been handed a very fair looking mark of 120 for this handicap debut. The son of Fair Mix was merely learning in bumpers, and improved when third on hurdles debut at Huntingdon in January. That form has not worked out, and he was easy to back on his most recent start at Ludlow last month only to prove the market wrong in some style, getting up to beat a promising sort in the shape of Venetia Williams’s Chambard in a solid time. He was helped by being held up in midfield in a race run at a generous gallop, but still improved markedly to win, and has been found a fairly uncompetitive race for his debut in handicap company.
Field Exhibition is the danger on paper, but is dropping back from three miles to two, which is a concern, while Mere Anarchy travels well but finds nothing for pressure in his races, and looks unsuited by a track with such a searching finish. I could see Karakorum, a stablemate of Field Exhibition, improving on previous efforts, but he’s still a maiden, and badly handicapped on bare form.
March Is On (15:45 Exeter – Nap) looks the bet of the day in the staying handicap hurdle. The son of Gold Well is bred to be useful, and showed improved form when splitting subsequent winners Daydream Aulmes and Black Buble at Warwick in December. He can clearly go well fresh as that shows, so the absence since is not a concern, and he is palpably well treated off a revised mark of 108, 5lb higher than Warwick. Winner Daydream Aulmes won next time off 4lb higher, and then again after a further 6lb rise. Black Buble has also won twice since, including off 5lb higher at Ludlow last time, and March Is On looked open to as much improvement as that pair, if not more given how he shaped. He appears a horse with a bright future, and can take advantage of his lenient treatment before winning something more substantial later in the spring.
Queens Present (16:15 Exeter) is worth the risk despite a long absence in the novices’ handicap chase. The mare hails from the family of Gold cup winner Kicking King, and won a point-to-point for Paul Cashman before joining David Arbuthnot. She showed her ability to go well fresh when winning a bumper on her racecourse bow, and went on to show fairly useful form over hurdles in 2016/17, her last outing seeing her finish second to Dingo Dollar in receipt of her mares’ allowance. That rival has quickly developed into a smart handicap chaser, and last ran off a handicap mark of 148 at Doncaster on Saturday, so it’s fair to say the assessor’s decision to drop her to 112 because of her absence is potentially very generous indeed. There is every reason to expect her to be ready despite her lay-off, and her background between the flags gives every hope she could do even better as a chaser, so I expect that she is a very well handicapped mare.