Big step up in class but King can still rule

Coolking is a fair shout in the Higos Insurance Services Devon National Handicap Chase at Exeter today.

Big step up in class but King can still rule

Trainer Lawney King will be happy enough with this seven-year-old since his switch from Ireland as he has run two pretty stout efforts in defeat.

He has not seemed particularly well handicapped, though, so connections must be satisfied by the assessor having taken another 2lb off his back.

Whether he takes to this big step up in trip is the main issues, but King clearly thinks stamina is his strong suit as Coolking is still entered in the four-miler at the Festival.

Capote can maintain his 100% record with a second win in the Racing UK Novices’ Hurdle.

The six-year-old was a point-to-point winner last December and made a successful start under Rules when landing a Catterick novices’ hurdle last month.

He was getting 7lb from the runner up that day and took full advantage, turning in a neat round of jumping before showing a nice change of gear to win by just under two lengths.

This looks an ideal opportunity for another victory.

Clondaw Flicka can bring up his hat-trick in the Close Brothers Business Finance Handicap Chase at Newcastle. Successful at Doncaster in November, Lucinda Russell’s charge then followed up with victory at Wetherby on St Stephen’s Day, although he had to work hard for the win on that occasion.

Clondaw Flicka appeared beaten two fences from home but rallied gamely to get back in front by a head on the line.

Russell has given him plenty of time to get over those exertions and while a 9lb rise is hardly ideal, Clondaw Flicka has appeared to be on an upward curve this term and can rise to the challenge again.

Frankie’s Promise gained a confidence-restoring victory in the Close Brothers Business Finance Novices’ Hurdle. The six-year-old unseated Lucy Alexander at the first flight of a maiden hurdle at Ayr last month, but had looked pretty useful before that.

Avonmore Star can reserve the best until last by winning the finale at Southwell. Alan McCabe’s inmate has had a fairly chequered last few years, but he looked re-energised at Wolverhampton last month.

The gelded son of Avonbridge travelled well enough in a seven-furlong handicap, but wilted a little inside the 250 yards and had to make do with fourth place.

That was still marked step up following a largely frustrating winter which has seen his mark slip to 58.

Having won in May 2012 off a 17lb, Avonmore Star is clearly well treated in the Best Odds At Handicap.

The fact his three career victories came over six furlongs tends to suggest McCabe knows exactly what he is doing by dropping back down in trip at the Nottinghamshire circuit.

Those who chuck a few bob the way of Marina Ballerina should get a decent run for their money in the Coral Mobile “Just Three Clicks To Bet” Handicap.

The six-year-old mare has been in fine nick this year, with a nice victory over a mile and three furlongs at Southwell in January the highlight.

Roy Bowring’s representative has since done well in two starts back at this track.

She also showed over this course and distance in February that the handicapper might not yet have her number.

Marina Ballerina is never particularly pleasing on the eye, but she enjoyed competing over an extra furlong to get to within a neck of the useful Kingscombe.

A 3lb rise is not ideal, but George Downing’s 5lb claim should at least help to offset some of that burden.

De Lesseps appeals as a likely contender in the Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap.

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