2.30 Exeter, Sunday, February 11

Dan Skelton has only been training in his own right for four years, but continues to saddle winner after winner – 133 at the last count – this season. The Warwickshire trainer has a strong contingent of novice hurdlers and, on Sunday, sends Solo Saxophone on the 300-mile round trip down the M5 to Exeter to contest the In Play Betting at 1888Bet Novices’ Hurdle (2.30). The 4-year-old Frankel colt failed to win on the Flat for Dermot Weld last season and looked well beaten, at one stage, on his hurdling debut at Catterick in December.


However, he rallied after the second last flight, overhauling the leader, Outcrop, on the run-in to win by 4 lengths going away. The third horse that day, Haulani, subsequently ran well in a better race at Kempton, but Solo Saxophone was only workmanlike when beating 50/1 outsider Titan in another run-of-the-mill juvenile hurdle at Wetherby last month.

Nevertheless, he has the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as his main objective, so can reasonably be expected to improve with experience. In fact, he has looked far from the finished articled on both starts for Dan Skelton, so he could be worth chancing, despite taking a significant rise in class.

Selection: Exeter 2.30 Solo Saxophone to win 5/1


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