Our racing expert likes a couple of runners at Ludlow.
The Neil King-trained UNBUCKLED looks something to bet on now stepping up to 2m5f in this afternoon’s mares’ novices’ hurdle at Ludlow (3.25pm) after being outpaced over 2m last time.
A dual bumper winner, she stayed on strongly to win a 17-runner 2m1/2f maiden hurdle at Doncaster in December and probably found the ground too soft when returned to that track on her next start, finishing a well beaten third behind Le Prezien.
However, she bounced back at this track last time when finishing second to Midtech Valentine, staying on best of the principals to lose out by a fast diminishing half-length, and she would surely have won had she had a stronger gallop to aim at, with a mistake at the last not helping her cause either.
As a daughter of Presenting, she is bred to appreciate a test on decent ground (good to soft is fine for her) and with today’s trip putting more of an emphasis on stamina, she can defy her penalty to get to winning ways at the expense of market rival Brise Vendeene. That horse, while respected, has become frustrating (form figures this season of 22323) and connections are now reaching for first-time blinkers.
DRUMLEE LAD may prove the answer to the 2m5f handicap hurdle run later on the card (4.35pm) after his confidence-boosting ten-length success over Mr Snoozy at Doncaster last month on his stable debut for Johnny Farrelly.
That was a bit of a surprise (sent off at 12/1) as he’d been largely disappointing since coming over from Ireland with a 2-2 record (a bumper and a maiden). However, a change of scenery has clearly done him plenty of good and, while the handicapper has hit him with an 11lb rise, he remains 4lb below the mark off which he graduated to handicaps a year ago, with further progress likely.
The big danger looks to be Saturday’s Uttoxeter winner Deputy Commander who is turned out under a 7lb penalty. While respected, that race was not the strongest and rather fell apart at the top of the home straight, while conditions also played a part with connections putting the gelding’s improvement from last time down to the heavy ground. On today’s better surface and around this speedier track, he may find the selection has too much pace at the finish.