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Ground could be the key in today’s feature race shoot out at Exeter

Today’s 3:00 feature down at Exeter is a Class 3 Novice Chase that looks set to be a straight shoot out between Paul Nicholls’ Jump City and Venetia Williams Dare Me, with the pair rated 30lbs clear of their rivals as hurdlers.

Both would arguably be better suited by drier ground than they’ll find this afternoon, with the going up on the Haldon Hills described as Heavy, but the form suggests that Dare Me will be the less inconvenienced of the pair.

Jump City’s sole encounter with Heavy ground brought the ignominy of the widest margin defeat of his career, by 39 lengths at Chepstow.

Conversley Venetia’s young chaser has picked up minor medals on his two Heavy going runs, including last time out when finishing just over a length in arrears to Colour Squadron, fifth in a Cheltenham Festival handicap on his next assignment.

There may be a suspicion that Dare Me – speedy enough to finish second in a Grade 2 Bumper over 2m at Aintree in his youth – has been inconvenienced by trips beyond 2m1f in the past as he’s yet to score in five attempts at greater distances, but his proven ability to cope with the most testing of raceable ground should see him home.

Further down the card the connections of Gemini Ahhs (3:30) and Robin Will (4:00) seem to have found some eminently winnable heats in which their charges seek consecutive victories.

The former bounded up by eight lengths last time out, having placed twice prior this term and if he strips fit from his latest success a week ago should take some pegging back of a 7lb penalty.

The latter stepped out of the Hunter Chase arena last time to record a third success on the trot in rules company and if the handicapper is to believed the race is at his mercy, with Richard Woollacott’s 10-year-old rated 18lbs superior to his rivals.