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A late afternoon double at Exeter on Friday took our score for the season to twenty eight.
Captain Drake was the first to strike with a relentless run in the last half mile of the marathon Devon National. Half an hour later Altobelli completed a fine afternoon for our team with a stylish victory in the bumper.
Both horses were very well ridden by Bryan Carver who has missed much of the season through injury and was gaining his first successes since returning to action a fortnight ago.
While the handicapper had given Captain Drake a decent chance on his best form the fact that he started at 20-1 was a reflection of the truth that he has been a bit of an enigma and has his own ideas about the game.
But he stays all day, relishes the testing ground he found at Exeter and is more than useful on a going day. Bryan gets a good tune out of him and they came from some way off the pace to win by by five lengths in a slow motion finish.
While we have always liked Altobelli we withdrew him from a bumper at Exeter twelve days ago because his blood wasn’t quite right.
As I was far from sure he would handle the ground conditions on Friday I suggested that Bryan should drop him in from the start and ride him with exaggerated patience. He carried out those tactics to perfection and produced Altobelli late on to win without knowing he’d been in a race.
Although it wasn’t the strongest bumper you couldn’t ask for a better debut and I will not be rushing to turn him out again quickly. The sensible plan would be to run him again in a month or so under a penalty before putting him away and then aiming him for the Class 1 bumper at Cheltenham in November.
The other option is to send him straight to the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree on Grand National day. It is a nice dilemma to have.
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