Our resident tipster is aiming to get the week off to a flyer with this trio of Ludlow runners.
Philip Hobbs has his in string in good form and he has double prospects at Ludlow this afternoon.
His BANYU is making his stable/hurdles debut in the opening maiden hurdle (due off 1.20pm) and, while the four-year-old is up against more experienced rivals, he did win three times on the flat in the French provinces before being bought out of a 1m2f Longchamp claimer in April. According to Hobbs (Stable Tour), he took time to acclimatise and get over a gelding operation but is going well now and is rated a good novice hurdle prospect. Richard Johnson rides and presumably connections have decided to start him here on account of the better ground that prevails.
Promising claimer Ciaran Gethings is on board the same stable’s KUBLAI in the closing 2m5f handicap hurdle (3.55pm) and his 7lb claim can be decisive. The five-year-old showed progressive form last season, culminating in a handicap hurdle success over this trip at Fontwell in April, and can be forgiven a poor effort on his next start at Newton Abbot in September as he was found to be suffering from ulcers. Having been treated since he’s fancied to get back to winning ways on his favoured surface.
I was going to out up Kim Bailey’s POLICY BREACH as a good bet in the “national hunt” novices’ hurdle on the same card, but he’s very short at around 4/9. That’s not surprising really as the form of his two bumper runs when trained in Ireland looks very good and his trainer has high hopes for him this season. Stick him in your notebook / tracker as one to follow.
The third and final bet is a far backable price, with the Tom George-trained NOCHE DE REYES looking excellent value at 5/1. He loves going right-handed so it’s no coincidence that his best two starts have been over track and trip: he won a valuable handicap chase in March 2014 off just a 3lb lower mark and was runner-up in another handicap chase earlier this month; ridden on both occasions by today’s pilot Paddy Brennan.
The clincher for the bet is that his main rivals according to the betting are opposable. Artifice Sivola won unchallenged at Fakenham last month, but this is a step up in grade and he’s been hit by a 10lb rise. Connections have also said he’s best fresh so it’s no given he will reproduce the form here. Tornado In Milan hails from the in-form yard of Evan Williams and finished second at Aintree on his reappearance, albeit a long way behind the winner. However, his trainer considers him “badly handicapped” and a “bit of an enigma” who is best when the mud is flying, which hardly makes you want to back him here.