Our racing guru is sweet on the chances of a 16/1 shot at Ludlow, one of three selections for today.
Gary Moore has endured some wretched luck of late with several stable stars sidelined due to injury, but his horses are running well – five winners and several places in the last fortnight – and he can be on the mark again with GUARDS CHAPEL in the 2m handicap at Lingfield (due off 3.20pm).
The eight-year-old was winning for the third time over track and trip when landing this race last year off just 4lb lower and had been showing he retains all his ability in recent starts. A couple of placed efforts over hurdles before Christmas were followed by a solid third at Kempton in January and the second has won since to frank the form. He is giving weight away all round and recent easy Southwell winner Ruler Of The Nile looks a big danger if he can reproduce the form on this surface under a penalty, but the selection may still have his measure.
The Hughie Morrison-trained FERN OWL got off the mark at Wolverhampton two starts back when beating Tangramm a head but he couldn’t confirm the form with that horse last time, going down by a head himself. However, he wasn’t suited by the funereal pace on the second occasion and the progressive four-year-old should be capable of winning more races off his current mark. This evening’s 1m4f handicap at Kempton looks a decent opportunity for him to test that theory and with nine rivals taking him on, he should get the sensible gallop he needs.
There is a precautionary inspection planned for Doncaster but there are no problems at today’s other jumps meeting at Ludlow. It’s competitive stuff at the Shropshire track no doubt helped by some decent prize money, and I’m very tempted to have a stab at the 16-runner 2m5f handicap hurdle on the card (4.15pm) with fancy odds available on the the Robin Dickin-trained BADGERS COVE, who is reappearing after a 711-day absence.
At first glance the 12-year-old looks to have it to do against several rivals who have been running well and are guaranteed to be fit. However, he has a decent record fresh and indeed won first time out at this track back in November 2010, having been campaigned in Irish point-to-points previously. He won twice more over hurdles, including another race here (so he’s 2-2 at the track) and the handicapper has cut him some slack for his layoff as he returns on a mark of 110, having won off 123.
The real clincher for a bet is the form of his stable with Dickin’s five runners in the last fortnight achieving finishing positions of 2P221, with a couple of the seconds going off at 20/1 and 13/2. With that in mind, the selection has to be worth a go at a double-figure price.