Our resident value has unearthed four value chances at Ludlow this afternoon.
Evan Williams is the top trainer at Ludlow and his 50 winners since the start of the 2011-12 season have come at a very respectable strike rate of 18%.
Basically, anything he runs at the track needs careful consideration and that certainly applies to THE BUGLER, who has had just three starts for Williams and ran his most encouraging race last time at Southwell. The eight-year-old was quietly fancied beforehand and while he could only finish fifth of the 12 runners, he wasn’t beaten far and was doing all his best work late on, suggesting he’ll relish today’s extra four furlongs. With the stable going great guns and off his lowest rating since going handicapping, he could well surprise some better fancied rivals.
Williams runs King Massini in the 3m1f handicap chase and the nine-year-old is a worthy favourite having returned to winning form at a recent meeting here. However, an 8lb rise for that success makes life more difficult and, at the odds, I’m drawn to bottom weight GOODTOKNOW, who represents the massively in-form Kerry Lee. He possesses a little more scope then the favourite at the age of seven and I see he has an entry in the Welsh National. He will need to win today to get into that race given his current rating and his rookie trainer, who has a 50% (3-6) strike rate at the track, can be relied upon to have him fairly straight on his return to action, though the market will prove the best guide to his fitness. Jamie Moore, who is 24% on the stable runners, rides – another positive!
Lee has done well fantastically well with Jayo Time, who was snapped up by current connections for a song after finishing third in a claiming hurdle at Worcester in August and has won three of his five starts since. The last of those came over track and trip just over a week ago and the six-year-old is now unbeaten in two runs here. However, another career-best effort is required to follow up under a 7lb penalty and the value lies with the Venetia Williams-trained VIVACCIO. He too is 2-2 at the track and has got himself well handicapped after his form tailed off after his win here last December. The lack of a run is no worry as he won first time out last season and his stable continues in great form, so there’s lots to like.
The mark should prove the best guide to the closing bumper with several promising types in the field. Philip Hobbs does well in these type of races and his unraced Poppy Kay has to be respected, but one horse who might offer some value is the Stuart Edmunds-trained debutant FOCUSING. Unlike some of these, he has a flat pedigree – he’s out of Central Park by a Silver Patriarch mare – and could well be ready to go on his racecourse debut, given his stable likes having bumper winners (3-10 record overall). Edmunds confuses matters by also running Sage Grouse but he has booked Paddy Brennan for the selection and the rider has an eye-catching 50% (5-10) strike rate on the stable runners, with two of his three bumper rides winning.
All four of today’s selections are decent prices so it could be worth combing them in an each-way yankee (22 bets).