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It was great to see Ask Me Early roll back the years with a decisive victory in a £35,000 Veterans Handicap Chase in deep ground at Exeter on Sunday in the colours of the Dare Family.

He has been showing more life at home this season after a difficult couple of seasons when he has been held back by injuries and other issues. Things seemed to be going so well when he won two novice hurdles late in 2021, but he took a long time to recover from a shockingly heavy fall schooling at home shortly afterwards.

That was the start of his problems, which left us wondering if he would ever bounce back. We have tried a few different things this season, including the odd day’s hunting, which he most certainly enjoys.

He showed enough on his first start to suggest there was better to come, and it’s been frustrating that he missed three races that were abandoned.

So we decided to wait until he was qualified for veteran races, and our patience was rewarded with a fine performance against a competitive field at Exeter, where he got into a lovely rhythm with Johnny Burke and jumped really well.

At the line, Ask Me Early was nine lengths clear of the favourite Run To Milan. I’ll see how he comes out of the race before making any plans.  But I’m already looking ahead to the Veterans Chase Final for him at Sandown next January, for which he qualified on Sunday.

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