Exeter and Wetherby previews: Third time lucky for Three Faces West over fences
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 22, 2016
Hobbs gelding has real hope of chase success at Exeter
Three Faces West can finally win at the fourth attempt this season for new handler Philip Hobbs in the 3m handicap chase at Exeter today (16:10), now that he has better going.
Formerly trained by Donald McCain, the eight-year-old was victorious in three of his four races over hurdles.
Three Faces West has now been sent chasing by Hobbs, finishing runner-up at Huntingdon on heavy ground and at this venue over the trip when conditions under foot were soft last time out.
As evidenced by his hurdling days when making all to win at Haydock 12 months ago, Three Faces West clearly prefers good or good to soft going, and he gets the former today.
Opposition all have question marks over them
In a field that also contains 2013 Coral Scottish Grand National winner Godsmejudge, Wincanton Badger Ales Trophy victor Drop Out Joe and Dan Skelton’s Wilton Milan, Three Faces West has a real opportunity to demonstrate he belongs in such company over the bigger obstacles.
Since scooping the Scottish National north of the border at Ayr three years ago, Godsmejudge is yet to recapture that form and has also switched trainers from Alan King to David Dennis this season without success.
He performed poorly when 15th of 17 in the Murphy Group Handicap Chase at The Open meeting at Cheltenham this past autumn, and was an equally uninspiring 13th of 15 in the London National around Sandown.
Although recovering from a late blunder to win at Wincanton as noted above in November, Drop Out Joe was totally outclassed in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster when last seen in action.
An almost 68-length fifth of six to The Last Samurai, Charlie Longsdon’s eight-year-old chestnut gelding was also way behind fellow Crabbies Grand National hopeful The Druids Nephew.
Wilton Milan, meanwhile, has been pulled up in three of his seven starts for Coral horse racing ambassador Skelton this season. All this adds up to giving Three Faces West real claims of a first chasing success here.
14:30 In The Crowd
15:40 Port Melon
16:10 Three Faces West (Nap)
16:40 Free Of Charge
17:15 Get Involved
Henderson to hand out Lessons In Milan at Wetherby
Top British trainer Nicky Henderson had a couple of Cheltenham Festival winners last week and followed that up by saddling Might Bite to Kempton Silver Plate glory over the weekend.
Lessons In Milan could well be the latest from his in-form stable to bring in prize money in the 3m novices’ chase at Wetherby (15:50).
This eight-year-old could have gone to post on either National Hunt card today, but handler Henderson chose the Yorkshire course over the Devon venue and just two horses oppose Lessons In Milan here.
Warren Greatrex’s Ballyculla ensures the selection will not have it all his own way, however, with the nine-year-old making plenty of headway before falling in the Eider Chase at Newcastle last time out.
14:10 Ivy Gate
15:50 Lessons In Milan (Nap)