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Best Bets 13th Feb

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3:00 Exeter – Lac de Constance

The feature race on the Exeter card revolves around the Challow Hurdle winner STAGE STAR. Paul Nicholls charge has a penalty to carry for his Grade 1 victory over Christmas but has enough in hand at the weights to make him hard to beat. The main concern would be the form of the yard, with just a 3% strike rate in the last 14-days, a figure almost unheard of at Ditcheat. That raises some doubts about taking a short price, especially as the drop back to the 2-mile trip doesn’t look to be an obvious one. He missed his engagement in the Sydney Banks at Huntingdon on Thursday, presumably because this was thought to be an easier target, but on these terms he is probably worth taking on. LAC DE CONSTANCE won with some authority on his hurdles debut for Dan Skelton over this course and distance in December. He is a well-bred son of Martaline, from the family of French Champion Hurdle winner Paul’s Saga and made an eye-catching debut here before Christmas, cantering clear to beat subsequent Wincanton winner Great Ocean by 8-lengths. On that evidence he is worth his place in this company and could be some good value to cause an upset.

4:00 Exeter – Snow Leopardess

Despite the 4lb penalty, it is impossible to oppose SNOW LEOPARDESS on these terms. She produced a career best to win the Becher Chase at Aintree before Christmas and back against her own sex, it is very hard to see how she can be beaten if getting around. As a 10-year-old she has only run right-handed once in her 18-race career, but she won that outing at Gowran in 2016 and so she shouldn’t have any issue adapting to the track.

4:30 Exeter – Elegant Escape

Dropping into Veteran’s company for the first-time should make ELEGANT ESCAPE competitive once again and if he is able to repeat his 3rd place finish behind Yala Enki at Taunton last time, he should win this. He won the 3-mile handicap chase at this meeting in 2018 and finished 2nd on his only other start at the Devon track. He is down to a mark of 143, his lowest since 2017 and was only beaten by 8-lengths by Yala Enki in the Portman Cup at Taunton and that is easily the best recent form on offer. With no doubts over his stamina, something that cannot be said for all his rivals, he could gain a first success since winning the Welsh National in 2018.

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