Our resident tipster likes the look of a couple of value outsiders at Ludlow.
Ludlow is expected to beat the weather this afternoon and there a couple of interesting each-way bets to be had at the Shropshire track.
The conditional jockeys handicap hurdle over 2m7f (due off 3.30pm) has attracted of ten and none are what you might call progressive. Half are ten or older and solid recent form is thin on the ground, so it’s perhaps understandable that bookmakers make the Venetia Williams-trained Market Option favourite as he did finish second (of five) a couple of starts back and the stable continues in good form. He may well win but with three non-completions in his last five runs, he’s not for me at just 3/1.
Instead, let’s take a chance on the Ian Williams-trained THE PERFECT CRIME who sits at the bottom of the weights and will carry just 10st thanks to his rider’s 8lb claim. He’s clearly had some problems as he was restricted to just one run last term and this is his first run back since October 2014. However, he’s the joint youngest horse in the race at seven and therefore has time in his side and has shown enough in previous starts to suggest he’s up to winning a small race like this.
His standout piece of form is a third to Sign Of A Victory at Doncaster in February 2014 and, whilst beaten a fair way on that occasion, it’s worth noting that horse is now a Listed winner over hurdles and is rated in the 150s, while the fourth horse home Verano has won twice since and is on a mark of 127. Clearly the selection could be very well treated on just 92 and being a son of Oscar he should relish the step up to three miles having been campaigned mainly over two miles previously.
I admit to knowing very little about his rider Toby Wheeler, apart from that he’s had a couple of winners over hurdles from a handful of rides, but his trainer is renowned for having the odd successful tilt at the ring and has been amongst the winners of late. Even more encouragement can be taken from the stable record at the track. Over the last five seasons, Williams has saddled 50 runners here and nine (18%) have ended up in the winner’s circle.
Given all that, the selection has to be worth a punt at current odds and any market support would only increase confidence.
UPDATE – The Perfect Crime has drifted right out to 25/1 which suggests he’s not fancied by connections, so keep stakes small.
The 2m5f maiden hurdle run earlier on the card (2.30pm) has attracted 13 runners and I’m again inclined to take on those at the head of the market. Particularly suspect is the David Pipe-trained Baraka De Thaix, who has his stamina to prove and does not impress with his hurdling technique, while Venetia Williams’ One Style has had 14 attempts to lose his maiden tag and is clearly one of the stable lesser lights.
Tom George’s Battle Of Shiloh is more interesting as he’s unbeaten in two Irish point-to-point starts and the stable runners are always worth a second look here. However, bookmakers are taking no chances with him, whereas the Tom Lacey-trained ALLSTAR VINNIE may have slipped under the radar. He too is a recruit from the Irish pointing field, finishing third on both his starts, and his sire, Irish St Leger winner Vinnie Roe, does produce some useful types in this sphere.
What really appeals about the selection, though, is the fact he has joined a stable with a growing reputation of getting the most out of their horses. Ex-jockey Lacey trains in nearby Herefordshire and while his name is on the licence, he has another former jumps jockey Charlie Brooks as a training partner. Between them they have sent out five winners this term, which equals last season’s total, and three have come in the last fortnight, including Cheltenham winner Singlefarmpayment, who landed a nice touch for connections.
With the last eight runners to come out of the yard achieving finishing positions of 12511241, the selection is crying out to be backed each-way at the current double-figure odds.