A competitive looking seven runner handicap hurdle is the third race of the day at Ludlow on Wednesday, see our betting tips and the full race preview bellow.
IN SUMMARY: A competitive looking race with Tara View looking very progressive, but returning to hurdling may continue the brilliant run that STILL BELIEVING is on at present. She has run two good races the last twice over fences, winning at Cheltenham before a good second here on her latest start in January. She now returns to hurdling on a mark 4lb lower than her chasing one, with her last run over timber resulting in a course win back in October 2015. On that vein, she’s a three time winner here including over C&D and with conditions to suit and Cian Maher claiming 10lb, she looks to be the one to beat today for Evan Williams.
1 TWENTYTWO’S TAKEN – Had shown some good form in 2015 and early 2016, with her latest victory coming at Exeter in March (2m, Heavy), making all that day. She has however been very poor since then, tailing off over fences in October (2m 4f, Good to Soft) and her two hurdling efforts before that yielded a fall at Worcester and pulling up at Uttoxeter. Stamina less than assured for this sort of distance which further tempers enthusiasm and impossible to recommend despite the emergence of a first time tongue tie.
2 CARD GAME – Had been in good form in early 2016, winning at Sedgefield with a comfortable success and twice placed second at Warwick and Market Rasen in the two runs after the win. Since returning this season however she’s been badly struggling, pulling up at Cheltenham in December (2m 4f, Soft) and Haydock (2m 6f, Soft). Now on a mark of 127 which is 7lb below her close second at Market Rasen in October and surely she is capable of a big run off this sort of mark. Conditions are fine with Jamie Hamilton on board and she has all the tools to succeed so no excuses today, but others do make more appeal in terms of recent form.
3 STILL BELIEVING – Stayed on much the strongest on her penultimate start at Cheltenham in December to take a comfortable win (2m 4f, Good) over fences. Raised 10lb as a consequence but that didn’t deter her and she ran another cracking race to finish second at Ludlow in January (2m 7f, Good to Soft), when just denied on the flat. Returns hurdling off a 4lb lower mark than her chasing one, with her last hurdling run a comfortable success here in October 2015 (2m 7f, Good). On that vein, she’s a three time winner here including over C&D and will stay this trip very strongly. Conditions are to suit today so if carrying over her chasing form she may well be tough to beat with Cian Maher claiming 10lb.
4 TARA VIEW – Won a weak bumper at Bangor in May (2m, Good) but has been steadily improving over obstacles, staying on strongly to win at Ludlow in November (1m 7f, Good) on hurdling debut. Upped in trip, she once again stayed on much the strongest to win over C&D in December, and has an opening mark of 124 for handicap debut. She’ll certainly need another jolt of progress if she’s to overcome this but she remains with any amount of potential and Alan King’s yard remain in good form at present. Likely to run a good race and will stay on strongly, but may just find one of these too strong today.
5 ON DEMAND – Gallant front runner who won four starts ago at Wincanton (2m 5f, Good), unchallenged on that occasion in November. Her penultimate start at Cheltenham when a close second behind Briery Queen (2m 4f, Soft) was another good effort, but she followed that up when well beaten at Wincanton, although over a much shorter trip (1m 7f, Soft). Likely to be much happier now upped in trip but is still 17lb above her last winning mark and will need more for Colin Tizzard if she’s to win again. If given a soft lead she’ll be dangerous, but hard to give her any more than place claims off this mark.
6 TIMON’S TARA – With the cheekpieces on she romped away at Uttoxeter on her latest start when unchallenged on the front end, setting a leisurely gallop before quickening clear (2m 6f, Heavy). That was over fences and she returns hurdling off a 5lb lower mark and if it was the cheekpieces that made the difference last time out, she’s potentially well handicapped today. Conditions are to suit and she stays this trip strongly so has to be respected for Robin Dickin with Jack Quinlan taking the ride.
7 LUTECE – Showed ability in France and initially carried that over with Venetia Williams when second at Newbury on British debut in March (2m, Soft). She has however been very poor on three runs since, looking a non stayer when well beaten at Uttoxeter on her latest start in December (2m 3f, Soft). Cheekpeices are now added which were tried twice in France and dropped another 5lb, but that still doesn’t make of her any appeal today.