There’s a couple of runners in this who are making their debuts for new trainers, but I’m sticking with the tried and trusted in Small Present. We normally associate trainer Sue Smith’s yard with taking a bit of time to get going, but the stable has had a few winners on the board already.
Small Present was second to Pisgah Pike at Hexham in September and that winner was subsequently just denied by Marine One at Market Rasen in a handicap hurdle.
His main rival, Guildhall, has joined Donald McCain off the Flat but has stamina to prove while Dr Richard Newland’s Rikoboy has been disappointing since arriving from France and needs to improve.
It’s a decent card at Ludlow on Wednesday where Relentless Dreamer could be an interesting alternative in this handicap chase in which a lot of the big yards are represented.
Relentless Dreamer has run well when fresh in the past and that will be key now as he hasn’t run since November 2019. He kept much better company than this last season and having won a Cheltenham handicap off 134 in Autumn 2018, should be interesting in a Ludlow handicap off 135 with jockey Ben Jones’ 3lb claim.
Just six runners in this handicap chase where Tonto Spirit should force the pace with Vintage Oak snapping at his heels.
That could set it up for the bottom weight, My Renaissance, who looks to have been targeted at this. He won with ease last week at this track and if his new rating had kicked in he’d be another 7lb higher in the weights.
He’s well handicapped, should be ridden patiently behind the pace and could prove hard to beat.
Late Date is my nap of the day in the 3m 2f Handicap Chase. Trainers are creatures of habit and Micky Hammond has sent Late Date to this venue for his second run of the season for the past two seasons and he’s won both times.
He ran in a much better race than this at Perth last time and with that run under his belt he should be primed to go now. This is a 0-100 contest and he spent most of last season running in 0-120 or 0-115 handicaps,
He looks a stand-out bet today.
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