Tag Archive for: Ludlow racecourse

Racing Insights, Thursday 21/03/24

Thursday's free feature, the Instant Expert racecard tab is one of Geegeez readers' most popular tools because it has the unique ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view covering the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size.

It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

We make this feature freely available to ALL readers EVERY Thursday for ALL races, including, naturally, our selection of 'free' races as follows...

  • 3.15 Chepstow
  • 3.58 Cork
  • 5.20 Ludlow
  • 8.30 Southwell

...from which I think we'll have a look at the Ludlow Gold Cup, aka the 5.20 Ludlow, an 8-runner, Class 4, 5yo+ Open Hunters Chase, taking in 16 fences over a right-handed 2m4f on soft ground...

...where I suspect that both Espoir de Guye and Before Midnight will go off at rather short odds, but that leaves the door open for a possible E/W punt, of course.

Espoir de Guye actually won last time out, as did Shang Tang, but none of the other six even made the frame with half of the field (Captain Tommy, Dalahast, Hazard Collonges and Missed Tee) all being pulled up. Captain Tommy did win two starts ago, but most of these are struggling for form right now.

Espoie de Guye, Royal Act and Missed Tee are all up a class here, but Shang Tang drops down a level whilst both Before Midnight and Dalahast drop down two classes, with only joint top weight Captain Tommy and Hazard Collonges having raced at class 4 last time around. Hazard Collonges has struggled to complete races of late and now wears cheekpieces for the first time as he also seeks to defy a near 16-week layoff.

Royal Act and Before Midnight have been rested for 58 & 80 days respectively, but the other five have all had a run in the last month or so. It's not a handicap contest, of course, which means that Before Midnight is best off at the weights carrying just 11-12 despite a rating of 129, putting him7lbs better off than next best Espoir de Guye, but Espoir is one of just three runners here (along with Shang Tang and Missed Tee) to have won at a similar trip to this one, whilst only Captain Tommy (via a 3m Hunter Chase last month) has tasted success at this track. That said, only Royal Act, Shang Tang and Missed Tee have tackled fences here before according to Instant Expert...

Instant Expert is often good at helping us pick a winner or narrow down the field and it's more of a narrowing job today with all that red above! Most of these are very inexperienced under these conditions so to be 0 from 2 or 3 is no great disaster just yet, but I am more concerned about Captain Tommy, Royal Act and Before Midnight on soft ground, Royal Act at this grade and trip, whilst Before Midnight hasn't won at this trip either in six attempts, although he has made the frame in half of them...

...and if it's an E/W challenger we're looking for, then Captain Tommy must now have jumped the queue somewhat. Royal Act still looks poor and I certainly won't be backing him and I do still have reservations about Before Midnight on this soft ground. That said, he is best off at the weights and does drop two classes here and our Pace Analyser says he'll be right in the mix if he's prepared to hit the front end early doors...

Unfortunately for him, he's not that type at all and tends to race in mid-division or at least has done in his more recent efforts...

...with the pace chart suggesting that Royal Act will attempt to set the tempo of the contest with the likes of Captain Tommy and Espoir de Guye in fairly close attendance. Royal Act has set the pace in each of his last four outings and they have seen him pulled up 4 out at Ffos Las and then beaten three times by 53, 83 and 69 lengths respectively, so I'm not too concerned about him 'nicking it' from the front!

Summary

The early (only Bet365 had odds at 5.10pm Wednesday) indications are that the bookies expect a tight two-horse race and that Royal Act is indeed, a no-hoper here...

...but I'm not convinced that Before Midnight gets near to Espoir de Guye today. I'm certainly not backing Espoir here, but he's far more likely to win than any of the others and is my 'pick'. From the evidence above, you won't be too surprised to read that Captain Tommy would be my E/W horse in this one and he could even challenge for the runner-up spot of things fall his way.

Racing Insights, Wednesday 11/10/23

Wednesday's free Geegeez GOLD feature, the Trainer Statistics (TS) report is, in fact, four reports in one. It contains information on a trainer’s recent form, and their longer term course form. For each of 14 day, 30 day, course one year, and course five year, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss. Clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, and clicking on the runner row will open that race in a new tab.

HINT: It can help to cross refer the profit figures of the trainer with their win/place percentage. A few big priced winners can mean a trainer has a high profit number but a low strike rate. You may need to be very patient, and a bit lucky, to come out in front this way!

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

In addition to the free daily feature, we always open up a number of racecards to non-Gold subscribers and for Wednesday, they are...

  • 3.35 Punchestown
  • 4.30 Ludlow
  • 4.57 Nottingham
  • 5.45 Sedgefield
  • 8.30 Kempton

...whilst my own personal settings for the TS report...

...have highlighted the following on 14-day form...

and for 30-day form...

and course 5-year form...

Of all the races listed above from both the 'free' list and the report qualifiers, the highest rated is the 5.05 Ludlow, where the in-form Twiston-Davies yard send Topofthecotswolds to take on 5 rivals in a Class 3, 4yo+ handicap chase over a right handed three miles on good ground...

BACK ON THE LASH was third in a Class 1 handicap at Cheltenham last November, before winning there over the cross country fences in January. Was subsequently pulled up at this year's Festival there and also in the Grand National at Aintree since but he's now down two classes and back to his last winning mark after a six month break. He's 3 from 3 here at Ludlow including a win over course and distance.

LE CAMELEON won a Class 3 handicap chase here over course and distance in March and was then third here a month later before signing off with another similar result at Kempton. Has been off for nearly six months and has undergone wind surgery in that time, but won this time last year after an equally long absence..

QUICK DRAW also comes back from a six month break and was in fine form last winter finishing 211P3, a poor run at Kempton aside. Yet to win over this trip over fences, but did so over hurdles at Uttoxeter in December 2021. Yard and jockey have good records here.

TOPOFTHECOTSWOLDS hasn't won any of seven outings since scoring here over 3m2f almost a year ago, but hadn't been running terribly before finishing last of six, beaten by 40 lengths at Worcester last month which is a worry. That said, yard and jockey are both in good form and that last win here was off a mark 2lbs higher than his current one and he does drop in class.

JUDGE EARLE is the veteran of the field at 11 yrs of age and was in good form in the summer finishing 112 during July/August. Sadly that took his mark from 105 to 125 and that looked too much for him as he was only 4th of 6 last time out. He's eased a pound here, but needs more help that that in my opinion. Won over this trip at Uttoxeter and now visits Ludlow for the first time.

VOLCANO is 6 from 26 over fences, which is reasonable enough, but 5 of those wins came from 6 outings at Warwick leaving him just 1 from 20 elsewhere! That 1 win did, however, come from 7 previous visits here at Ludlow over course and distance almost three years ago. Hasn't been seen since being pulled up at Ffos Las six months ago and will probably need the run as all six career wins have come within 23 days of his previous run.

Instant Expert suggests Back On The Lash will be best suited by forecasted conditions...

...whilst featured runner Topofthecotswolds has really good place form...

If the field's past few races are anything to go by, then I'd expect Judge Earle and Volcano to be the early pace-setters...

...which, based on past races here at Ludlow, would seem to represent their best chances of doing well today...

Summary

Pacemakers do well here at Ludlow and I'd expect Judge Earle and Volcano to be the early pace-setters. Sadly the latter looks like he's too high in the weights to win and the latter saves his best form for Warwick and will probably also need the run.

Next in line on the pace chart is Back On The Lash, who is down in class and back on his last winning mark. He scored best on Instant Expert too and he'll be well poised to take over from the leaders as they tire. We're not getting rich here, but at 3/1 (Bet365) Back On The Lash would be my pick of the pack.

Le Cameleon returns from a break and wind surgery and I tend not to back horses immediately after wind ops, which leaves me with Topofthecotswolds and Quick Draw.

The latter has excellent place stats over similar conditions, but is still higher than his last winning mark and hasn't been in great form of alter, despite how well his yard are going. Quick Draw, however, was going well at the end of his last campaign and his yard/jockey fare well at this venue. There might not be much to choose between this pair in the end, but the latter is the 9/4 fav with Hills. Bet365 offer 11/1 about Topofthecotswolds and whilst he might need things to fall his way to make the frame, that might not be a bad E/W bet for small change.

Racing Insights, Tuesday 09/05/23

I hope you all had a great Bank Holiday weekend and that a return to normality on Tuesday isn't too much of a bind. The Shortlist is Tuesday's free Geegeez GOLD feature and it's a simple (usually brief) report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day and it covers win or place stats for both the current and the next day's racing.

GREEN is good (33% or better win rate) – worth 3 points
AMBER is quite good (16-32% win rate) – worth 1 point
RED is not so good (0-15% win rate) – worth -1 points
GREY means there is no available data for that factor - worth 0 points

The final column, ‘Score’, is the sum of the previous five ‘colour’ columns, with 15 being an all green profile, and 9 being the lowest score appearing on this report.

HINT: The best bets are not necessarily the highest scores. Rather, they are often the biggest difference between a Shortlist horse and the ‘best of the rest’ in that race.

N.B. Shortlist selections are unlikely to make a profit, at SP at least, to blind backing. Our recommendation has always been that The Shortlist should be a starting point rather than an end in itself. That said, it continues to highlight horses whose chance is better than recent form and its odds might imply.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information] and here is Tuesday's Shortlist...

...where Weebill and Finest View would be of most obvious interest initially. As ever, the daily feature is complemented by a selection of fully functional racecards opened up to all readers and for Tuesday they cover the following...

  • 1.50 Lingfield
  • 7.00 Ludlow
  • 7.30 Ludlow
  • 8.45 Newcastle

The first of the two Ludlow contests is the highest rated of our 'free' races and as it also features Shortlist-highlight Finest View, it makes sense to have a look at the 7.00 Ludlow, a 13-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ handicap hurdle over two miles on good ground, that is softer in places with more rain due...

Lipa K and Kincardine both won last time out, but the latter had failed to complete his two previous outings. Caroles Pass, Samuel Spade and Cabrakan are all two from their last five, but Socialist Agenda is winless in five after back to back wins in early 2022.

Only four of these (Caroles Pass, Finest View, Tap Tap Boom & Bombyx) actually ran at this level last time with the other nine up in class, except Socialist Agenda who drops from Class 2. Of the eight class risers, all except Cabrakan step up just one level, but he's up two classes.

Caroles Pass, Samuel Spade, Bombyx and Casi Crudo are running in handicaps for just second time. Finest View wears a tongue-tie for the first time here and Socialist Agenda has a first outing since a wind operation performed during a three month break from action.

That break isn't the longest here, though. Most of the field have raced in the last nine weeks, but the exception, Galata Bridge was last seen in September 2022, so might well need the run.

All of these have won over a similar trip in the past and Tap Tap Boom has also landed a two mile chase here at Ludlow. The only other course winner is Shortlist horse Finest View, who is two from two over course and distance, including a win in this very race last year. He's 5lbs heavier here, but does have a 7lb claimer in the saddle.

In addition to the above, Instant Expert tells us that Bombyx is the only one of the pack yet to win an NH race on good / good to soft ground and that Finest View is the sole Class 3 winner, although Caroles Pass, Samuel Spade & Cabrakan have won at Class 2...

As expected, Finest View is the eyecatcher here and his place record is even stronger...

...where Tap Tap Boom's record at Class 3 remains poor. Bottom weight Casi Crudo, however, also seems like he'll relish the conditions too. If we said that Finest View and Casi Crudo were of definite interest at this stage, we then need to consider how we think they'll approach the contest and based on their recent outings...

...they both give the impression that they'll be fairly close together in mid-field in a race where Prime Time Lady looks like the one to set the pace, although Finest View did race more prominently last time out just as he did when winning this race last year. Racing further forward again here is likely to improve his chances as those setting the pace have the best record in similar past contests...

Summary

I like Finest View and Casi Crudo from above, but I'm not totally convinced they're quite good enough right now to win. The two I think I like more are Caroles Pass, who has the ideal pace profile and the in-form Kincardine, who won LTO by making all. In fairness, any of this quartet could be the winner and I don't really fancy any of them over any of the others, so with the bookies paying four places, I'd take these four for my placers.

I checked the early market from Hills at 4pm on Monday and they had the race priced up as follows...

...where I'd be happy to place a small E/W bet on three of them, but at 9/2 Kincardine is just too short for such an approach, although it would be fitting this week for him to land this for his owners, our newly crowned King and Queen.

Racing Insights, Thursday 23/03/23

Thursday's free feature, the Instant Expert racecard tab is one of Geegeez readers' most popular tools because it has the unique ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view covering the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size.

It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

We make this feature freely available to ALL readers EVERY Thursday for ALL races, including, naturally, our selection of 'free' races as follows...

  • 2.05 Cork
  • 2.35 Chepstow
  • 3.50 Cork
  • 5.20 Ludlow

The first of the two UK races above is a Novice event, so I'm going to have a look at the 5.20 Ludlow, a 7-runner, Class 4, 4yo+ handicap hurdle taking in 11 flights over a right-handed 2m5½f on good to soft ground, that is soft in places with showers forecast...

My initial thoughts were that Your Band might be out of his depth, but that the other half dozen might well only be separated by a few points in the market, giving us a nice competitive contest.

Sole mare Malaita is the only LTO winner in the field, but she's up a class here, as is Duke of Moravia, who made the frame last time and now makes a second handicap appearance. It's also Amrons Sage's second crack at a handicap, whilst Spring Meadow is on handicap debut.

Top-weight Whatsupwithyou was a runner-up less than three weeks ago and now drops in class, whilst Spring Meadow and No No Tango also made the frame last time. Duke of Moravia has been away from the track the longest at almost twelve weeks, but that's no real cause for concern.

The mare Malaita is the only former course winner, having landed a bumper in May 2021 on her second career start, whilst Whatsupwithyou's win at Ascot on debut in December 2019 is the only win at this trip achieved by the entire field. Feature of the day Instant Expert also tells us that just two of the seven have won on good to soft or soft ground so far and that just three of them are Class 4 winners...

Spring Meadow looks strongest here in a weak set of results, but we'll probably learn more from place form...

My main concerns here are Whatsupwithyou on the softer ground, yet closer analysis is contradictory. He's made the frame in four of vive on good ground, so you'd say he wants it quicker than this, but his win on debut was over this trip on heavy ground. Elsewhere, Malaita might struggle with the quality of the race, as her best form (inc that LTO win) has been at Class 5, but she was a runner-up at Hereford thirteen months ago off just one pound lower than today.

She won from the front last time out and is likely to be up with the pace again here, if her last four outings are anything to go by (see below), but this might be tricky, now she's up in trip by 3.5 furlongs. Of the others, No No Tango looks the likeliest to be the early back-marker...

...and back-markers have fared worst in similar past races, according to our pace analyser...

...which looks weighted towards leaders.

Summary

Overall, the two I like(d) best are/were Whatsupwithyou and No No Tango, but neither come without risks. The former hasn't gone well on good to soft/soft ground, but has won on heavy. He's got a good pace profile for this contest, has won at this trip, is in decent form and drops in class. The latter is a regular placer in good nick, but might well be left with too much to do.

Aside from this two, Spring Meadow also made some appeal with two wins and a place from his last four and a prominent racing style, but his jumping hasn't been great and he's hardly thrown in off a mark of 188 for his handicap debut, so I'll stick with my initial pair and side with the 9/2 Whatsupwithyou to edge out the equally-priced No No Tango.

 

 

Racing Insights, Thursday 02/03/23

Thursday's free feature, the Instant Expert racecard tab is one of Geegeez readers' most popular tools because it has the unique ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view covering the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size.

It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

We make this feature freely available to ALL readers EVERY Thursday for ALL races, including, naturally, our selection of 'free' races as follows...

  • 2.50 Taunton
  • 3.00 Ludlow
  • 4.45 Ludlow
  • 4.55 Clonmel

...and purely based on feature of the day, Instant Expert, I'm going to look at the 3.00 Ludlow, a 6-runner, Class 3, 5yo+ handicap chase over a right handed three miles on good ground where the Instant Expert looks like this...

...suggesting a two-way battle between the two at the top of the weights, although Java Point (who won this race last year) would prefer it a little softer. He does however, have a good place record on good ground, so it's not a case of him not acting on it...

...and again it's the top two generating the most interest, so let's look at the card...

Quoi de Neuf and top weight Hidden Heroics both won last time out and the latter is three from four and seeks a hat-trick here, whilst only Flagrant Delitiep is without a win in five. Quoi du Neuf actually won over hurdles last time so, he's a class and 4lbs higher than that win, but Fuji Flight is down a class and Java Point's sixth place finish a month ago was in a Class 1 handicap. He's the only course and distance winner, courtesy of winning this race last year, Quoi de Neuf has won a 2m5½f hurdle contest here, Hidden Heroics won over 3m½f at Exeter whilst Fuji Flight has chase successes at both 2m7½f and 3m1f. Top weight and 'form' horse Hidden Heroics runs for the first time in twelve weeks, but the others  have all raced in the last month or so.

HIDDEN HEROICS had two wins and a runner-up finish from his last four over hurdles and is now two from two over fences winning by 23 and 45 lengths over longer trips than this, suggesting an 8lb hike in weight might not anchor him.

JAVA POINT has finished 21311326 in handicap chases so far and the only blot on that run was the unoplaced effort LTO, but that was in a tough £57k Class 1 contest. Has made the frame in a pair of Class 2's this year so far, so this is easier on paper, but he hasn't won in 11 months and is still 2lbs higher than that win on April Fool's Day.

LE CAMELEON is three from eight over fences in the last thirteen months, but since his last win (Warwick, 5 months ago) he fell at Fontwell and was 7th of 12 at Chepstow and last of five at Taunton. Still 1lb higher than that win and now asked to go further than ever before.

FUJI FLIGHT won two on the bounce around this time last year, but that moved his mark from 122 to 132 which held him back for a while, but he took advantage of a ratings drop to 128 to finish 3rd at Uttoxeter recently with a 5lb claimer on his back. No claimer today, but another pound off from the assessor puts him back to his last winning mark, so he'd hope to be competitive.

QUOI DE NEUF has won just one of ten over fences and that was on 9th December 2021, but did win by ten lengths at Ludlow over hurdles just eight days ago ending a run of seven defeats (5 over fences). Now 4lbs higher than that hurdles success and up in class.

FLAGRANT DELITIEP has 3 wins and 4 furher places from 15 over fences, which is reasonable enough, but virtually all his good from comes at Wincanton and over 2m4f-2m5f and since winning at Wincanton a year ago, he has been beaten by 45L, been pulled up and then beaten by 27, 15, 33 and 16 lengths.

Recent pace profiles suggest that the in-form Hidden Heroics might try to win this from the front, whilst Fuji Flight is a confirmed hold-up horse...

...but the leader might not have it all his own way, as only Java Point of the others doesn't have a tendency to take races on early and even when he won this race last year, he raced in snatches. Past similar small field contests here at Ludlow have gone the way of those setting the pace...

...so not entirely great for Java Point and not good at all for Fuji Point.

Summary

There's no getting away from Hidden Heroics. He's in great form, scores well on Instant Expert and has the ideal pace profile for this race. Yes, he's up 8lbs, but he did win by 45 lengths despite jumping to the right on a left-handed track. They go right handed here, so that might also help. He has to be the one to beat and the only surprise approaching 5pm is that he's not shorter than his current 13/8 price with Bet365.

We're not getting rich backing him at that price, though so we might need an E/W bet or one for forecast/exacta and from the other five, I really don't like Flagrant Delitiep for lots of reasons above and I'm not over enamoured with Le Cameleon, leaving me with three to choose from...

Java Point won this race last year and is running OK this year, he scored well on IE too but might get left for pace and would prefer the ground to be softer. Fuji Flight isn't in the best of form, didn't score too well on IE and as the only hold-up type could have too much to do later in the contest. That said, he gets the trip, he's on a workable mark and is down in class, whilst Quoi de Neuf will be up with the pace, but just doesn't win/place often enough over fences.

There's probably not much between the three and the tentative pick as my runner-up goes to last year's winner Java Point. He just seems to edge the others on all bar pace, but his yard know what's required here and the market know he's proven over track and trip, typified by his 4/1 ticket. I'm not really into backing the top two in the market, but there are times when it's the right thing and I think that's the case here.

Racing Insights, Wednesday 22/02/23

Wednesday's free GOLD feature, the Trainer Statistics (TS) report is, in fact, four reports in one. It contains information on a trainer’s recent form, and their longer term course form. For each of 14 day, 30 day, course one year, and course five year, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss.

Clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, and clicking on the runner row will open that race in a new tab.

HINT: It can help to cross refer the profit figures of the trainer with their win/place percentage. A few big priced winners can mean a trainer has a high profit number but a low strike rate. You may need to be very patient, and a bit lucky, to come out in front this way! And as ever, we ask you to please refer to our User Guide for further information.

In addition to the TS report, we also have the following fully functional free racecards...

  • 3.00 Doncaster
  • 4.20 Ludlow
  • 4.35 Punchestown
  • 6.30 Kempton

My own personal settings for the TS report ...

...have actually generated the following...

...but as Sod's Law often prevails, none of my TS qualifiers are in a 'free' race so I'm going to see how trainers Henry Daly and Venetia Williams get on again each other in the first of their two duels, as a small but competitive field is assembled for the 3.45 Ludlow, a 6-runner, Class 3, 5yo+ handicap chase (amateur jockeys) over a right handed three miles on good ground...

HEAD TO THE STARS has only won 3 of 22 over fences to date, but that includes 3 from 10 here at Ludlow and more specifically 3 from 8 over course and distance, but hasn't performed well since a runner-up finish here almost a year. He was beaten here by 27 lengths in late March and beaten by 34 lengths at Aintree in mid-May. After a break, he hit the 2nd fence at Aintree and unseated at the third in mid-November and made a bad mistake here almost seven weeks ago and finished th of 6. Conditions will suit him, but he needs to pick his jumping back up.

ONE TRUE KING won a bumper here on debut just over three years ago, won over 2m7f at Market Rasen (hurdles) and over 2m6½f in a Class 3 chase at the same venue last September, but has struggled since, going down by 49, 46, 21 and 21 lengths. His last run was just four days ago in a Class 1 race at Ascot, so he's down two classes here, but possibly still too high in the weights.

THE BIG LENSE ran his best race for some time when a runner-up over 2m4f at Leicester last time out, but since winning over 3m1f at Kilbeggan in July 2021, his record at this kind of trip reads FPP and he has failed to complete five of his last ten outings.

COO STAR SIVOLA certainly isn't the same horse that won the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 but did run well back at HQ in April 2021, when only a length and a half behind the winner of a Class 2, 3m2f chase. He was then off track for 20 months, during which time he moved yards, but has shown very little in two starts for Venetia Williams, going down by 64 lengths in November and by 35 lengths last month, but down in class and weight here, could he have one more decent run in him?

VOLCANO was a runner-up here over course and distance two starts/nine weeks ago when held off by just a neck well clear of the rest of the field and ran better than the bare result suggests last time out. He was, indeed, only 5th of 13 and beaten by some 16 lengths but was running from 10lbs out of the weightin a Class 1 handicap. He's that 10lbs better off here and down two classes, so could be the one to beat.

SEIGNEUR DES AS has yet to win in the UK after 2 efforts over hurdles and 3 over fences and he was 0 from 8 in France, but ran his best race to date last time out. He was rununing for the first time since a wind op and managed to finish 2nd of 4, denied on the line by a nose when 6lb out of the weights. He's 3lbs out here, but that should hap him be more competitive and another decent effort is expected.

Composite relevant chase form is highlighted by Instant Expert...

...where doubts are raised about Head To The Stars on good ground, as he'd definitely prefer it softer, but is excellent here at Ludlow. The Big Lense hasn't won at the trip yet, but he is 1 from 4 at 3m1f, but is much better at 2m4f and Volcano's record at Class 3 isn't great, but he's too good for Class 4, he's in decent form and will have no issues with the trip.

Small fields can be a bit cagey when it comes to pace, but if they all run as they have been doing of late...

...I'd suggest that Volcano will be the one leading them along with possibly/probably Coo Star Sivola next in line. The rest of the field generally seem content to sit things out until later, but I think such tactics might well play into Volcano's hands...

Summary

I've liked Volcano all the way through the process and there's only his poor record at this grade that could possibly be an issue. That said, he's in great form and is too good for Class 4. Only Hills have priced this up, but he's available at 10/3 and that's fair enough, I think. 11/4 or 3/1 is where I'd have been, so he's the one I'd prefer to be with at the expense of  Seigneur D'As who is ready to win, but always seems to find one (or more) just too good on the day.

Mind you, any of these could win here, but the lack of pace amongst the pack might be their undoing, unless one of them is brave is enough to put it to Volcano.