Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action.
I’m braving the handicaps at Ludlow in search of a decent priced winner and the following pair have enough to recommend them to suggest they can at least outrun their odds.
BADILOU (1.00pm) has yet to strike in 11 British starts for Devon-based Martin Hill, but he did win twice over hurdles in France and his two chasing starts to date suggest he’s capable of winning off his current mark. After catching the eye on his chase debut at Newton Abbot in June, he again ran well for a long way when third of the 12 runners at Worcester the following month.
Whilst that form is nothing special it gives him a real squeak in today’s company and connections are giving him every chance by adding a hood to his usual cheek-pieces, while he also benefits from Charlie Deutsch’s 3lb claim. Interestingly, he’s 2-11 on the stable runners and is riding close to his minimum this afternoon.
Kim Bailey’s Dueling Banjos is the class act in the feature 3m1f handicap chase (2.05pm) and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him give weight and a beating to his 11 rivals having run well in a better race at Cheltenham last time.
However, I’ve a sneaky feeling that the unexposed CRYSTAL LAD is going to produce a career best over fences now that Gary Moore is trying a longer trip with him. A former Irish pointer who wasn’t beaten far into fourth behind the now 145-rated Brio Conti in that sphere, he showed a useful level of form over hurdles last season, including when winning at Fontwell and then running a cracking fourth of the 16 runners in a Grade 3 handicap at Sandown.
That wasn’t the only time he ran well at the latter track and I suspect he needs to go right-handed to show his best, which makes his disappointing chase debut at Plumpton easy to forgive. After showing much more back at Sandown last time (2m4f), when plugging on into fifth in what was a competitive class 3 contest, the unexposed five-year-old can surely do better still over what might turn out to be his best trip and having dropped to a career-low mark of 123.
Stuart Edmunds has his string in fine form with three of his ten runners in the last fortnight finding the winners’ enclosure and he could again be on the mark with MARIA’S BENEFIT (1.30pm), who is chasing a hat-trick after wins against male horses at Newton Abbot and Sandown last time. She appears to be getting better with racing and her high cruising speed means she is best suited to handicaps as they are invariably run at a faster pace. Now back against her own sex, it will take a good performance from any of her five rivals to stop her going in again.
(prices were correct at the time of posting: December 5, 2017 @ 18:06:03)
All odds were correct at time of posting.