Royale to hold Court at Ludlow

Steve Hughes has picks from two of Ludlow’s best races on Sunday

Jumps racing only in Britain today and of the two fixtures, Ludlow has by far the more interesting contests. Both my selections are therefore from the Shropshire track. A number of near misses yesterday but our one return came from the each-way place for Ripp Orf (advised 10/1).

Ludlow 3.40: Court Royale

A few strong travellers here who will relish the sharp track and six of the ten runners have course winning form. One of those is Court Royale who looks to be in the best form coming into this.

He beat an in form rival in Snapdragon Fire here last month, again going well in behind the leaders before quickening up the best in the straight. I can see this race taking on a similar shape and there is no reason why a5lb higher mark should stop him.

He ran respectably in two of the top 2m handicaps in the winter including the big pre-Christmas handicap at Ascot, but the deeper ground would not have played to his strengths. In this easier class 3 company on faster ground and a sharp track, they are exactly the right variables for this improving 6yo.

Ludlow 4.15: Hatcher

The winner of two relatively uncompetitive novice events since switching to chasing this spring, Hatcher is taken to overcome the step up in class at Ludlow today.

He is an exciting ride for jockey Harry Skelton as this horse only knows one way to race which is flat out from the start. As such he is a natural two miler but fortunately he has taken well to the bigger obstacles so far. It is difficult to draw any hard and fast conclusions from winning three and four runner contests as an odds-on favourite, but there is every chance he will be a better horse over fences as he looks a clean jumper and he could prove harder to pass with more obstacles to jump.

This track should be perfect for him as it is sharp and flat, whilst the drying ground will be very much in his favour too. If he can get to the front early he could set a pace too strong for the rest.

Recommended bets:

1pt win – Court Royale – 3.40 Ludlow – 7/2 Paddy Power

1pt win – Hatcher – 4.15 Ludlow – 6/4 general

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