Exeter Preview: Queen can rule on handicap debut
Queen Of The Stage could well have got in lightly in the 2m 1f mares’ handicap hurdle at Exeter today (2.50) and looks a worthy favourite provide in-form trainer Nick Williams with another winner.
The five-year-old showed improved form on her return to action when landing a maiden hurdler at Ludlow by a head from Taylor for trainer Robin Dickin, and followed up in good style on her first start for Nick Williams when beating a well-regarded sort in Miss Estela by 3/4 of a length at this venue.
The daughter of King’s Theatre was value for more than the winning margin in the latter having raced wide throughout, and after taking up the running two from home was always doing just enough to get the job done without having to come under any real pressure.
Queen Of The Stage has been allotted an opening mark of 117 on the back of that success, and that could be on the lenient side given that the runner-up was a dual bumper winner who finished a solid fifth to the classy Bitofapuzzle in a Listed contest at Cheltenam.
The selection also looks to be on a serious upward curve and the type that has plenty more to offer, and has the services of Lizzie Kelly in the saddle who is terrific value for her 7lb claim.
With the yard going well, and underfoot conditions holding no fears, Queen Of The Stage is going to be very tough to beat in what doesn’t look the strongest of class 4 contests.
Kentford Myth finished fourth behind Queen Of The Stage last time out and can go well at a decent price in the 3m handicap hurdle (3.50).
The Seamus Mullins trained mare made good steady late headway from off the pace, and after making a mistake and landing awkwardly two from home kept on under tender handling to be beaten 13 1/4 lengths.
It was a run which suggested there could be better to come from five-year-old, who having been given an opening handicap mark of 103 is now able to race off 98.
That looks very workable if the daughter of Midnight Legend can build on her latest effort, especially with young rider Kevin Jones’ claim taking another 7lb off Kentford Myth’s back.
The stable is also in good nick having saddled four winners and two placed from its last 14 runners, and everything looks in place for a big run.
1.20: Herbert Park
1.50: Mountain Of Mourne
2.20: Kudu Shine
2.50: Queen Of The Stage (NAP)
3.20: Marie Des Anges
3.50: Kentford Myth (NB)