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Trading Bureau: Put your faith in Sterling to make a healthy profit.

Byline: Nick Fox

THE racing at Exeter today looks like matching Sandown for entertainment value and also provides the day's best bets. Sterling Dot Com won't be a big price for the XYZ Machine Tools Novices' Handicap Chase (3.20) but is going to take all the beating with a good round.

His chasing career has been held back by some dodgy jumping so far and though he was again far from impressive in that department at Newbury on his return, it certainly looked an improvement on last season.

And in finishing third behind The Tall Guy and Lodestar, the Philip Hobbs-trained gelding showed easily his best form over fences.

A strong stayer who will enjoy every yard of this near three-mile trip, Sterling Dot Com comes out clear best on the figures on that performance and it seems to be as much a question of whether he can put in another adequate round of jumping as anything else.

The rival who concerns me most is the Bridget Nicholls-trained Whispering John, who is capable of better than he has shown so far. Twice a runner-up in Irish points, he fell on his chasing debut at Fontwell last February and now takes a significant step up in distance.

A second worthwhile bet at the Devon track may be Korelo in the Harry Dutfield Memorial Novices' Chase (1.45), even if the distance is short of his best.

With Tony McCoy at Sandown and Korelo better over farther than this, Martin Pipe's ex-French gelding could end up taking quite a walk in the market. Already, it looks as though he'll start at around our forecast of 7-2, which would be tempting enough in itself.

Helped by very testing conditions over the extended two miles, Korelo justified odds as short as 9-4 in winning the Imperial Cup at Sandown in March. That, however, wasn't his best performance of last term.

That came when chasing a big bonus in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham when, raised to two miles, five furlongs in distance but on pretty quick ground, he finished eight lengths fifth to Xenophon.

The remarkable thing about Korelo is that, when trained in France by Guy Cherel, he was a lot better in chases than hurdles. And the experience he had across the Channel ought to stand him in good stead against some other interesting recruits.

Keltic Bard was fourth in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and has the build of one who'll do well over fences. Nas Na Riogh blew out in the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown in May but wouldn't have run badly in the Triumph before, had she not unseated two out.

L'Ange au Ciel, a highly regarded gelding, also adds to the interest.

Self Defense and the Irish raider Green Belt Flyer look the two to concentrate on in the Sandown feature, the William Hill Winter Novices' Hurdle (2.05).

Inglis Drever faces tougher task today

On only his second start over hurdles, Inglis Drever is pitched in against Champion Hurdle fourth Self Defense in the 2.05 at Sandown. For all that he was impressive at Aintree a fortnight ago, the bare form was some way off what Self Defense has achieved and probably not far ahead of Green Belt Flyer's third in a Grade 3 at Navan. Whereas he started at 7-2 first time, the forecast for Inglis Drever is half that, in stronger company today, and Green Belt Flyer promises to start around 7-1. Lay Inglis Drever to lose 1 point at up to 3.2.

Sterling Dot Com (nap)

3.20 Exeter

1pt win

Korelo

1.45 Exeter

1pt win

Spreads and betting exchanges (scale of 1-10)

Lay Inglis Drever (2.05 Sandown) to lose 1pt at up to 3.2

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Korelo: French chasing experience can prove a plus
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 5, 2003
Words:639
Previous Article:southwell: Ei Ei is back over hurdles.
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