This is an interesting contest at Ludlow, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: The Dan Skelton trained HESTINA has the best flat form of all of these and she should finally take advantage in a weaker contest and notch up her first victory in this code. Here All Along will provide her with the most to think about having finished second to a relatively decent type on her previous outing.
1 ALL DOLLED UP – Ex-flat recruit who failed to break her maiden tag in 12 races. She finished third in a seller back in December and couldn’t build upon that with a 29 length defeat over 1m 4f at Wolverhampton off a mark of 50 which sets a pretty low bar in terms of expectations. Trainer is operating at a 5% strike rate here and others are preferred.
2 ATHY RIVER – Makes her hurdling debut today following three runs in National Hunt Flat races. She showed some promise on Good to Firm ground in October of last year when she finished third of nine and she’s going to appreciate much drier ground than is currently forecast here. Yard have been slightly out of form of late and others make a bit more appeal today based on the going. Market could be interesting though.
3 DREWMAIN LEGEND – Well-beaten in three starts to date including two Novice Hurdles. This will be easier than those races and she arrives here with hurdling experience which should stand her in good stead. Yard are without a winner from 9 runners here but this one isn’t without a chance and she would be very interesting with market support. She may find handicaps easier once she gets a rating.
4 HERE ALL ALONG – Began her racing career in point-to-points and she finished fourth of eleven in December before transferring to the David Dennis yard. She ran a nice enough race on debut over a furlong further, finishing 7 lengths behind a nice enough type in a Class 4 Novice Hurdle. That forms entitles her to plenty of respect here and there should be plenty to come from her in this weaker grade. Respected.
5 MAC BELLA – 16/1 and beaten out of sight on debut over 2 miles at Huntingdon. That form is obviously disappointing and the yard have been in seriously poor form of late, without a winner from 28 runners and that makes her an unattractive proposition here. Others make more appeal and yard need to bounce back to form.
6 MAGGIE’S DAWN – Relatively quiet stable and this runner has been well-beaten in two starts to date in a Class 4 maiden and novice hurdle. She should do better now dropped into a weaker grade but this would be a huge ask on what she’s shown to date and this David Brace owned and trained mare is avoided here.
7 STRANGSMILL – Won a point-to-point in June last year on better ground and she had run well on heavy previous to that but she’s been poor since running under rules. She’s finished pulled up and a 97 length loser on two starts on heavy ground and the quicker ground and shorter trip should be against her here. Trainer not renowned for maiden winners and one for handicaps.
8 HESTINA – Won a Newmarket handicap in October of last year over 1m 4f and that’s the best piece of form in this race having come off a mark of 81. She’s been well-backed on all three starts to date (3/1, 6/4 and 9/2) and she’s likely to be popular here. She has been slightly disappointing in stronger races than this but this will be the easiest task by some way and her stable have been in good form of late (24% strike rate). Should be competitive here.
9 MACCA’S STOWAWAY – Yard are the only profitable stable here out of today’s trainers (£4 profit to level stakes) and they’ve been in good form of late. This Stowaway mare has been comfortably beaten in all of her four starts to date and although stepping down in grade she was well beaten in weaker contests than this earlier in the year and it would be a minor surprise to see her win this.