3.40pm Ludlow Tips & Betting Preview 03/03/2016

IN SUMMARY: NEXIUS has stamina to prove over a new trip on today’s handicap chase debut but he looked in excellent nick when scoring over 2m3f at Doncaster last month, and that was only his second start for Paul Nicholls. He gets the vote but Big Casino has slipped to a workable mark and could be difficult to pass if he seizes the early lead and gets into a good jumping rhythm.

SUN CLOUD – Four-time chase winner who ran right up to best form when second at Haydock (3m, soft) in November; ought to be fine on this right-handed circuit but needs to bounce back from a poor run back at Haydock in December and remains on career-high mark; tongue-tie added.

GALWAY JACK – Front-runner who returned from break with two good efforts at Kempton in January (2m2f/2m4f); stays 3m but wasn’t in same form at Warwick last month and current mark leaves him with very little margin for error.

NEXIUS – Well beaten on stable/chase debut in October but returned from break with much better performance when clearcut winner at Doncaster (2m3f, good to soft) last month; has stamina to prove over new trip here and may prefer slightly better ground, but needs to be taken very seriously.

TOP WOOD – Gave very good account when second at Chepstow (2m7f, heavy) on seasonal reappearance in December but has looked laboured on both subsequent appearances; probably found 2m3f too sharp on more recent occasion but still has a point to prove.

KILBREE KID – Well suited by 3m on a right-handed track (C&D winner last year) but has looked badly out of sorts in recent months; on workable mark if able to stage a revival but would prefer better ground and comes with too many risks.

FOUNDRY SQUARE – Reasonably consistent in hunter chases last year but often ran in snatches and seemed to have developed some of his own ideas about the game; returns from 294-day absence here and needs to prove he can still get competitive in a good-quality handicap.

BIG CASINO – Soundly beaten when dropped back to 2m3f for latest start in December but landed a good prize at Haydock (2m5f, good to soft) in May and ran well for a long way at Cheltenham (3m1f, good) in October; could be dangerous if allowed to dominate from the front.

ROYAL PALLADIUM – Second of three consecutive wins in late 2014 came over C&D and he posted a new career-best performance when very creditable second in Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton (3m1f, soft) in November; good chance on that evidence but form has dipped quite badly since.

DRUMSHAMBO – Very useful in his prime but hasn’t tasted victory since November 2013 and this season’s form is very uninspiring; sliding handicap mark makes him difficult to write off but headgear hasn’t appeared to help much when used in the past.

myracing Forecast Prices: 2/1 Nexius, 11/2 Top Wood, Big Casino, 7/1 Sun Cloud, Galway Jack, 8/1 Royal Palladium, 14/1 Foundry Square, Drumshambo, 20/1 Kilbree Kid

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