Thursday’s best bets, by Greg Wood
It is easy to sympathise with Bob Davies, the general manager at Ludlow racecourse, who told the Racing Post on Wednesday evening that the poor turnout for a card worth £72,000 at the track on Thursday afternoon prompted him to “wonder what the hell is the point”.
When Davies was quoted, the hunter chase – with the smallest prize fund of the meeting – was the only race on the card with the eight horses necessary for betting to three places. Since then, one of the runners has been scratched, and the favourites for the seven races include horses currently trading at 1-8, 4-11, 11-10 and shrinking and 11-8.
It is not simply a case of people being put off by the ground, as Ludlow is expected to ride soft, good-to-soft in places. And what must really rub the salt in is that Chepstow’s card on Thursday afternoon attracted 58 final declarations against Ludlow’s 37, for a card with half the money on offer.
Think back to this card the next time you hear someone – probably an owner or trainer – suggesting that a big boost in prize money will solve all racing’s problems at a stroke.
Ludlow’s efforts deserved much better, not least in the handicap chase, a Class 2 event, which has only five runners for a first prize of £12,500. All five do at least go to post with some sort of chance, however, with the narrow vote going to Speredek (4.10) to extend his winning streak to three after a 7lb rise for his most recent success at Sandown. He was not overly extended there and while Red Spinner is likely to compete strongly for the lead, Speredek is the better jumper and should put it to good effect.
Pink Gin (3.50) made a solid start over fences at Newbury last time out when he was only eight lengths behind the winner, yet he has been dropped a pound in the ratings even with further progress likely. He must go close today, while The Kid (4.20) is also worth an interest in the following race to back up his recent improved form at Plumpton.
Kenstone (7.20) has also found some further improvement since joining Adrian Wintle in October and should continue his progress on the evening card at Chelmsford City. Normal Equilibrium is a decent price at around 4-1 in the final race on the same card, while Cappananty Con (4.00) is the one to beat in an interesting sprint handicap at Wolverhampton.
Tips for Thursday’s races, by Greg Wood
2.10 Cascaye 2.40 Billy Hicks 3.15 Big Meadow 3.50 Pink Gin 4.20 The Kid 4.50 Benvolio 5.25 Indian Hercules
2.30 Shantou Rock 3.05 Gino Trail 3.40 Taws 4.10 Speredek 4.40 Galway Jack 5.15 Secret Door 5.45 Or De Vassy
5.50 Kowaiyess 6.20 Cahar Fad 6.50 Intensical 7.20 Kenstone (nap) 7.50 Jack The Laird 8.20 Assertive Agent 8.50 Normal Equilibrium
1.50 Dashing Poet 2.20 Mr Red Clubs 2.55 Surround Sound 3.25 The Last Debutante 4.00 Cappananty Con (nb) 4.30 Hidden Charms 5.00 Celtic Artisan