Past Winners » Exmoor Ranger


(Exmoor Ranger) obviously doesn’t have the same scope for progression that some of his rivals have, he is nine years old now and he has raced 16 times over fences, but he is a high class staying handicapper on his day. He has a terrible tendency to clout one or two fences, as he did in this race last year when he finished fourth behind Massini’s Maguire and Take The Breeze, and you have to accept that it is possible that he will blow his chance with poor jumping, but that is more than factored into his odds. He also ran a big race behind Midnight Chase on his second run last season at Cheltenham’s December meeting, and he wasn’t at all disgraced in the William Hill Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after completely missing the start.

The handicapper has given him a massive chance today by dropping him down to a mark of 137. That is just 2lb higher than his last winning mark, and it is 8lb lower than the mark off which he competed in this race last year. He goes well fresh, he goes well right-handed, he goes well at Ascot, he goes well on good ground, and Victor Dartnall’s horses have been going well this season so far … It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Dartnall has had this race in mind for Exmoor Ranger for a while, and hopefully he has done some schooling with him during the summer to try to get his jumping right, because if he can put in a clear round, he would have a big chance of winning this, much bigger than that reflected in odds of 16/1.