Seven go to post at Ludlow’s sharp two miles for a 0-115 handicap chase on Thursday afternoon. Read on for our expert tips and a runner by runner look at the race.
IN SUMMARY: Vital Evidence is likely to be happier back in the cheek pieces than he was in the visor last time. The way he appeared to be already struggling at an early stage when coming down is off-putting however. Fields Of Silk has the ability to win this off this mark but he is another coming off the back of a run where he appeared not to be enjoying himself so he has a little to prove. UN ANJOU has shown some of his best form on similar tracks to this in the past and is dangerously well handicapped on his best form, he looks better value than the front pair in the market.
1 TRUCKERS HIGHWAY – Hit a run of rude health last season when fitted with a hood, winning four times in five starts including once here. Soft ground suits well and he’s slipped to a mark a pound below his last winning one. The slipping mark is partly due to a pair of dismal efforts this season however, a break since may have freshened him up but he’s still risky on this season’s form.
2 UPSANDDOWNS –Potentially well treated on his hurdles form but he is yet to win a handicap. All three wins have come on better ground than he is likely to get here, including at this track back in 2014. The ground is the biggest question mark so despite the slipping mark he is probably best watched.
3 UN ANJOU – Not the easiest to win with but has spent the majority of his career at a stronger level than he finds himself here. His three wins have all come over a bare two miles, including at Musselburgh and Taunton, similarly sharp right handed tracks to Ludlow. He is eleven pounds below his last winning mark and already five pounds lower than when third on Boxing Day at Market Rasen over slightly further. Conditions are in his favour here and a big run looks likely.
4 VITAL EVIDENCE – Sent off favourite at Doncaster last time but already looked to be starting to keep tabs on the leaders when coming down. He had run with credit at Sedgefield the time before which was his best effort over jumps. Twice a winner on the flat including on heavy ground, he is proving frustrating but the return of the cheek pieces he wore at Sedgefield a likely plus.
5 EMPEROR COMMODOS – Just twelve starts for this ten year old but he has not managed to get his head in front. Soft ground and this two mile trip suit well, almost pulling off a 33/1 shock at Lingfield in December under similar conditions. He failed to back that up at Uttoxeter the next time and his inconsistency is off-putting with only two places to play for.
6 FINGERS CROSSED – Sole win came on heavy ground at Leicester back in November 2014 but has failed to get close to that level of form again in eight runs since. Never travelling back at Leicester last time, the hood he wore that day is quickly dispensed with by connections. He is dropped another seven pounds by the handicapper now but is hard to support with any confidence.
7 FIELDS OF SILK – Caught the eye on his chasing debut at Carlisle when third to a pair of solid yardsticks. Sent off just 2/1 at Hereford on the back of that, he was badly hampered by an early faller and appeared to lose his confidence. The ability is there to win off this mark but just two weeks on from the Hereford run, it will be interesting to see if that experience has left a mental scar.