Mud-loving runners will come to the fore if Exeter passes inspection
Exeter Racecourse are confident their race meeting on Sunday will go ahead, although there will be a precautionary inspection at 8am.
The race day has been dedicated to the military charity South West Salute with all serving military personnel and a guest eligible for half price entry.
With conditions expected to be heavy, the mud is sure to be flying and in the opening South West Salute Spartans Handicap Hurdle over two miles seven furlongs, conditions could be perfect for the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Canadian Dreamer who was a five-length second at Carlisle earlier this month.
He stayed on in heavy ground which suggests a step up in trip and the track will suit.
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The Jonjo O'Neill-trained American Legend is another who loves it squelching underfoot and he could add to his success at Ffos Las in October where he was the length winner of a 15-runner handicap hurdle. He has gone up 5lb in the handicap as a result.
Five go in the Help For Heroes Novices' Limited Handicap Chase and its a competitive race with all having chances. The Alan King-trained Godsmejudge will relish the conditions. He was beaten three lengths at Stratford in a beginners' chase when he was unable to quicken in the final stages, but it is unlikely anything will quicken down the home straight at Exeter, and it will be more a case of plugging on.
Big Occasion is another confirmed mud lover and Same Difference will keep galloping.
Morstead has run well on his last two starts and he could feature in the SSAFA Commemorative Handicap Chase. The Brendan Powell-trained seven-year-old won a two-mile handicap chase at Warwick earlier in the month, beating Daneva by three quarters of a length, and then finished two three quarters of a length back in third at Lingfield 12 days ago. The Colin Tizzard-trained Russian Song has not been seen since pulling up in a novice hurdle at Aintree in April 2011 but before that he won a similar race at Newbury over an extended three miles. He finished second in a novice's handicap chase at the course in 2010 and he is sure to be fit for his reappearance. He steps back in trip, but stamina will be key.
Nick Williams saddles two in the Poppies Pursuit Handicap Chase including Blackstaff, an impressive-looking gelding who was considered good enough to line up in the John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase at Aintree in April but fell at the ninth fence. He has won a hunter chase at Exeter and could well find winning form at a good price.
The consistent Be Definite is sure to start favourite on the back of his success at Stratford on November 1 when he was the seven lengths winner of a handicap chase.
Fourteen go in the Huge Novices' Hurdle including the David Pipe-trained Bygones Sovereign whose last run was at Towcester in January where he finished second to native beauty in a two mile novices' hurdle. Pipe's horses are in good order and the gelding could make a winning reappearance.
Concluding the card is the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle and Pipe could come off best again with Home Run who was 11 lengths behind the winner at Newton Abbot in September in a two mile one furlong handicap hurdle race.
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