Steve Hughes has two jumpers to follow on Thursday, aiming for a third consecutive double.
As autumn draws on jump racing takes precedence on Thursday with all three afternoon meetings in Britain taking place over obstacles. I have choices from two of the handicap chases, one at Ludlow and one at Carlisle. We secured another double on Wednesday, not as lucrative as Tuesday but still paying an approximate 9/1 at SP through Smart Talk (7/2) and Fly (5/4).
Carlisle 3.55: Orange Nassau
Charlie Longsdon continues to make hay during October as normal and Orange Nassau can be another ready enough to win first time out this autumn.
He somewhat lost his way after a promising start last season, but he does seem to favour a sound surface which perhaps partly explains his decent form at this time of year before the ground worsens. His record over conventional fences on good or good-to-soft reads 1121P2, that one bad run perhaps through a lack of stamina over 3m6f. That compares with a recent record on soft or heavy of 2P66325P0.
Second over course and distance on his seasonal return last season, he was an easy winner at Newton Abbot on his seasonal debut the previous year, so a five month absence is no problem for the selection. Encouragingly his last run in the spring saw him put in his display for some time, placing second, again over this course and distance to Fill the Power. Presumably the quicker ground made a positive difference and the going will be much the same today, whilst he is able to run off the same rating of 122.
Ludlow 4.15: Buck Mulligan
It has been over a year (and twelve races) since Buck Mulligan last made the winners enclosure but this probably rates his easiest race and therefore best chance since and conditions should be ideal for him at Ludlow today.
He was a 135 rated chaser at his peak in 2013 when his optimum trip was around 2m4f-2m6f. Whilst he is not as good these days, his current rating of 119 reflects that – his lowest since winning by 10l here on his chasing debut. That win came over 3m1f, proving he does have the stamina for this 3m trip at this level, especially on this sharp and flat track.
He has run respectably throughout the summer at trips short of 3m, notably when second to Danandy at Stratford, but has increasingly looked short of pace at 2m4f of late. A return to 3m looks in order, especially on good going, so his stamina should not be overly tested. His declining mark, coupled with the booking of 5lb claimer Conor Ring means Buck Mulligan will be as well in as he has been for quite some time – and in a lower grade than usual too.
1pt win – Orange Nassau – 3.55 Carlisle – 11/4 general
1pt win – Buck Mulligan – 4.15 Ludlow – 5/1 Boylesports