Sunday 8th April

2.35pm Exeter – Doc Carver 1.5pts Win (7/1)

Doc Carver gained some nice looking form in Novice Hurdles behind Destrier & Fin And Game before stepping into handicaps, on his debut in that sphere he was sent off the even money favourite but came down 3 from home when still travelling well within himself. A disappointing effort followed at Plumpton but that was on good ground and a return to more testing conditions should suit him. Dropped 2lbs now he looks well handicapped and with his trainer Henry Oliver having two winners from four runners at this track in the past year, he has plenty in his favour.

2.50pm Carlisle – Skipping On 3pts Win (9/4)

Despite this being a small field, three of these like to go forward and that could play right into the hands of Skipping On. He’s in great form having won 3 of his last 5 and is a dual winner on soft ground, in addition he’s one of only two in this field to have won at the distance with the other being the out of form Derintoher Yank. Skipping On is progressing nicely and this looks like another good bit of placing by Laura Morgan to bring up the hat-trick.

3.10pm Exeter – The Bay Birch 2.5pts Win (4/1 bet365, 7/2 general)

At first glance, seeing that a horse has gone up 15lbs for a win seems extremely harsh, but with The Bay Birch it’s very much justified and perhaps still leaves this mark shy of her abilities. Her form figures since moving to Matt Sheppard read 2121, from both second places the winners have both gone in again off higher marks and both The Bay Birch’s wins have been by an aggregate 56 lengths. Last time out at Towcester it was an annihilation and I really don’t think an extra 15lb would have been stopping her that day, relishing the testing ground that day the similar conditions she’ll encounter here will be right up her street.

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