Exeter Racecourse’s totepool Haldon Gold Cup is widely regarded as the first big two mile chase of the season and with several trainers eyeing up the £70k race as the starting point for their horses, this year’s race looks set to be a vintage renewal on Tuesday 2nd November.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has said it could be dual Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Mater Minded’s first race of the season before he takes his chance in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. The flamboyant two-mile chaser lost his form last season after fracturing a rib but a summer wind operation could see the seven-year-old bounce back to his very best.
Twist Magic, a winner of the Tingle Creek and Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot and another horse trained by Nicholls, could also line up.
Last year’s winner Planet of Sound is being aimed at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He added the Punchestown Guiness Gold Cup to his wins in April and Philip Hobbs has said he may run next Tuesday. Recent Limerick grade 3 chase winner Cornas, who is trained at South Molton by Nick Williams, may run along with the Alan King-trained Oh Crick who finished fifth in the Champion Chase in March.
Managing director Steven Clarke said: “It’s a great race which does attract some of the best names in racing and it is a fantastic opportunity for West Country people to witness the thrill of top class horses in action. The Haldon Gold Cup’s roll of honour is impressive with past winners including Best Mate, Planet of Sound, Azertyuiop, Edredon Bleu and Flagship Uberalles and we are very grateful to our sponsors, the tote, for their generous sponsorship of the day.”
The raceday is worth £119k in all and always attracts a high class entry. A free bus from Exeter St David’s and Exter Bus Station to and from the racecourse as well as special race day packages offering the option of racecourse tours and a tipsters talk all add to the experience. The first of six races is off at 1.35pm with the last coming under starters orders at 4.05pm.