Saturday 10 February 2024 09:20, UK
Goshhowposh appears to be on a rapid upwards trajectory, with a third win of the campaign on the cards in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Exeter.
The seven-year-old failed to hit the target in three starts last term but wasted no time in getting off the mark in the current campaign, striking course-and-distance gold in October off a mark of 117. Raised 4lb for that win, he cut little ice in a subsequent Grade Three assignment at Haydock, unshipping his rider at the last when his chance was already gone.
Philip Hobbs and Johnson White then refocussed to tackle another Pertemps qualifier at Wincanton on Boxing Day and Goshhowposh looked good value for his winning margin of four and three-quarter lengths as he idled a bit in front. Hiked a further 6lb, Goshhowposh must take another leap forwards to prevail and while the likely testing ground is something of a question mark, the Malinas' gelding's talent is certainly not in doubt.
Fun Fun Fun makes the trip from Ireland for Willie Mullins in search of Listed glory in the Trustatrader Fully Vetted Tradespeople Novices' Hurdle. A Grade Two winner in bumper company, she made a fine impression on her hurdles bow, winning by just over seven lengths despite taking a keen hold early on. She was then sent off at a short price in Listed company at Thurles and victory looked assured until a slight stumble after the last cost her all momentum and she had to settle for second. Fun Fun Fun has the class to win a race like this, with her mares' allowance adding further confidence.
Galia Des Liteaux only narrowly failed to reel in My Silver Lining in the Classic Chase last time and compensation awaits in the Trustatrader You Can Trust Our Traders Mares' Chase. Making her handicap debut and having a first crack at three miles and five furlongs, she was staying on all the way to the line to be beaten three-quarters of a length when conceding 20lb. The reopposing Malina Girl finished nearly 40 lengths behind that day and while that looked a blip, Galia Des Liteaux could have her measure off level weights here.
Trelawne could not get to grips with the left-handed Wetherby track on his most recent start, so a return to a right-handed course in the Trustatrader Approved And Reviewed Trades People Novices' Chase is a plus. While he had previously run well enough when third behind the Festival-bound Ginny's Destiny at Cheltenham, his rider had quite a battle to get him round in Yorkshire, hanging badly on a number of occasions in the Grade Two Towton. It is to his credit he still managed to serve it up to Colonel Harry, eventually beaten less than two lengths, and he can get back on the winning trail now.
The Craftymaster can notch up his fifth win on the bounce in the BetUK. It's Where The UK Bets Handicap at Lingfield. He has found his niche at staying trips, winning three times at Wolverhampton and once at this venue since mid-December - progressing from a mark of 49 to his new perch of 61 in the process. His late finishing style means he does not win by too far, so he could still have a bit to work with in the ratings.
Blazing Khal can repeat last year's victory in the William Hill Boyne Hurdle at Navan. Charles Byrnes' runner returned from a long absence to win the Grade Two last year before finishing sixth in the Stayers' at Cheltenham and he has another lengthy break to overcome here. However, Byrnes is clearly a master at getting this horse right for a run and it would be little surprise if he defended his title.
EXETER: 2.05 Trelawne, 2.35 Hasthing, 3.05 Fun Fun Fun, 3.35 GOSHHOWPOSH (NAP), 4.05 Galia Des Liteaux, 4.35 Lord Du Mesnil, 5.05 Teeshan.
LINGFIELD: 1.27 Mick's Spirit, 1.57 Unavailable, 2.27 Sennockian, 2.57 Repartee, 3.27 The Craftymaster, 3.57 Radiant Angel, 4.27 Tawtheef.
NAVAN: 1.45 Claude Du Val, 2.15 Pastorale, 2.45 Blazing Khal, 3.15 Stockdale, 3.45 Nick Rockett, 4.15 Young Dev, 4.45 On The Steel.
DOUBLE: Goshhowposh and Fun Fun Fun.