ITV will be showing races from Exeter and Down Royal on Friday afternoon along with five races from the Breeders’ Cup card at Keeneland in the evening.
We have three horse racing tips for the afternoon’s action at Exeter, together with two selections for the US meeting featuring a host of Grade 1 races.
“Tip of the Day” - Third Time Lucki (3.35pm Exeter) - 15/8 with Betvictor
In receipt of plenty of weight from top weight Greaneteen and with an excellent record fresh, Dan Skelton’s charge can get his season off to the best possible start with a victory in this valuable handicap chase.
1.50pm Exeter, 2m 5 1/2f. - Whisky Express (Each Way)
Keiran Burke’s The Height Of Fame has won her last three starts (dead heated on the latest occasion) and looks sure to make another bold bid from the front if allowed an uncontested lead. However, the mount of Gavin Sheehan faces some unexposed rivals in this mares’ handicap hurdle, including WHISKY EXPRESS (e.w.) from the Harry Fry stable who makes her handicap debut off a potentially lenient mark of 109.
Despite running very green, the daughter of Imperial Monarch won on her only start in a Bumper, at Taunton 20 months ago, before going over hurdles around this time last year. Jonathan Burke’s mount took a couple of runs to get the hang of the hurdling game but ran out a convincing winner of a mares’ maiden hurdle at Newton Abbot back in March (beating the short priced favourite) and is open to plenty more improvement.
3.00pm Exeter, 3m - Minella Buster
Decent hurdler Pileon didn’t excel himself in two starts over fences when trained by Philip Hobbs and is best watched on his first outing for new handler Jack Tudor. On the other hand, Killer Kane took really well to fences towards the end of last season for the Tizzard stable and is sure to pay his way over the coming months. But on this occasion, slight preference is for the Emma Lavelle-trained MINELLA BUSTER.
No great shakes in five runs over hurdles, although the six-year-old did win a modest contest at Plumpton by 24 lengths, Tom Bellamy’s mount was always going to make up into a better chaser and that looked very much the case when Minella Buster cantered home at Kempton last month on his chasing debut.
Raised 9lb by the handicapper for that easy victory, the selection still looks well treated in receipt of weight from all but one of his 10 rivals.
3.35pm Exeter, 2m 1 1/2f - Third Time Lucki (Nap)
Last season’s Tingle Creek and Celebration Chase winner Greaneteen sets a high standard in this valuable limited handicap chase off a rating of 168. Paul Nicholls’ charge is a class act when at the top of his game but I think the concession of 15lb to the Dan Skelton-trained THIRD TIME LUCKI could prove a step too far for Harry Cobden’s mount on his first run of the season.
In contrast, Third Time Lucki has a tremendous record fresh having won both starts over fences following a break, including when putting 30 lengths between himself and Michael Scudamore’s talented Do Your Job in a Doncaster Grade 2 back in January.
A bad mistake 4-out didn’t help the cause of Harry Skelton’s mount when third at Aintree’s Grand National meeting and with no such error on this occasion the seven-year-old is strongly fancied to get his season off to a winning start. A bigger danger than Greaneteen to the selection could be War Lord from the Joe Tizzard stable who has done little wrong since going over fences and is getting weight off his two main rivals.
7.00pm Keeneland, 5 1/2f - Persian Force (Each Way) (Longshot)
British-trained runners hold a strong hand in this extended 5f Grade 1 juvenile contest run on turf, one exception being Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary fourth Love Reigns, who has home advantage over old rival Dramatised on this occasion.
Richard Fahey’s Prix De L’Abbaye winner The Platinum Queen has speed to burn but stall 12 does not look ideal for Hollie Doyle’s mount. Dramatised and Godolphin’s Mischief Magic could easily provide a victory for the home team but experience is always an asset in these races and on his seventh outing since winning Doncaster’s Brocklesby at the beginning of the Flat turf season, Richard Hannon’s PERSIAN FORCE is fancied to run a big race.
Yet to finish out of the first three, the last five in Group 1 or 2 company, the Mehmas colt has the valuable services of rider Frankie Dettori and is ideally berthed in stall six.
8.20pm Keeneland, 1m - Meditate (Next Best)
While it is hard to assess the form of the home runners, they will have to be pretty smart to prevent Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien’s MEDITATE winning this race which went to the Charles Hills-trained Chriselliam back in 2013.
The No Nay Never filly won her first four starts (including Royal Ascot’s Albany Stakes) before beating all bar the hugely exciting Tahiyra in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. Runner-up again on her most recent start, behind Lezoo in Newmarket’s Cheveley Park Stakes, Ryan Moore’s mount sets a high standard and connections will be disappointed if they come away empty handed in this Grade 1 race run over a mile.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.