Exeter Placepot: Thursday December 19

Paul Nicholls trains one of today's bankers
Paul Nicholls trains one of today's bankers

Exeter, arguably the day's feature card, comes under inspection for the Placepot...

"The only danger to Bury Parade is Lidar, and then only if that one’s fully tuned up following another significant absence."

12:50 - The market in this opening novice is rather one-sided. Centasia is the short-priced favourite with only a handful given much of a chance behind her. Were either Molly's A Diva or Woodland Walk a shoo-in for the first three then we'd take them instead of the favourite; but they're not, so we can't. The consolation is that it should be an easy passage through the first as Centasia really ought to win.

13:20 - Mixologist stands out in this eight-runner handicap, his improved effort last time easily explained through his yard's current form and his mark today the same. He could in theory be a banker, but Shammick Boy is included as insurance. He too put up a career-best effort last time to win the Silver Trophy at Chepstow and has perhaps sensibly been given time to get over that hard first run back from a break. 

13:50 - The graduation chase has predictably attracted a small field, with only four entered. Call this my Gregory House moment, when the rule book is hastily discarded, but far from take them all I'm suggesting a banker. The only danger to Bury Parade is Lidar, and then only if that one's fully tuned up following another significant absence. Bury Parade is essentially a bold-jumping front runner and shouldn't have any problem dropping back in trip at this relatively galloping track. 

14:20 - Novice handicap chases can be dangerous contests where the Placepot is concerned. Take this example, in which the only two with experience are relative outsiders. Nevertheless, Fair Bramble gets in, her whole career up to now suggesting there's more to come and her experience over fences valuable for our purposes. Also making it in is Born To Benefit, who has stepped up for Fergal O'Brien this season and looks fairly straightforward. Both being out of the weights is a concern, but then again only two of the five are in the handicap proper. 

14:50 - This is a competitive handicap chase, so two will be required. Bincombe is certainly one, his win last time worth a lot more than an 8-lb rise, while he's unexposed overall and generally appeals as an even better chaser. Umberto d'Olivate also won last time and ought to derive some benefit from the slightly stiffer test today's race will probably provide. 

15:20 - After rush of blood in the graduation chase, we're going to slip comfortably back into the received wisdom for leg six. Tagrita and Padre Tito rightly dominate the market. The first-named is favourite, but Padre Tito has shown us a bit more of what he's about and the step up in trip will suit. A banker on him to finish is therefore the standard play.

12:50 - 1
13:20 - 1, 8
13:50 - 1
14:20 - 4, 6
14:50 - 4, 8
15:20 - 7

= 8 lines

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