Underfoot conditions were given as good to soft at Ludlow on Wednesday morning with no further significant rain forecast between now and post time.
In the opener Qualismart (12.30) is fitted with a hood for the first time having pulled too hard in the decent Haydock Conditions event on heavy ground when last seen back in December. The selection – 10/11 with Boylesports – is held in some regard by Harry Whittington and today’s sharp track and better ground should suit this good ground Market Rasen winner on debut. The stable had a double on Sunday and three of their last five runners have struck gold.
The valuable Forbra Gold Cup sees Calipso Collonges attempt to go one better than when runner up in the corresponding race 12 months ago from a 2lbs higher mark – 5 if you include the jockey’s allowance. Olly Murphy’s 9-y-old is locally owned and this is likely to have been the plan for some time.
He must go close but marginal preference is for Rocco (2.05) who disappointed last time but would have every chance on the form of his second at Kelso on his penultimate start. I have always considered the selection – 4/1 with William Hill – as a three-mile chaser and I am prepared to put a line through the form of his last start at Kempton given the Twiston-Davies yard were out of sorts at the time.
Glory And Honour won his sole point over 2m 4f and he steps up from the minimum trip on his first handicap for Tom Lacey, whose string have been quiet in recent weeks and those that have run have disappointed.
One For You (2.40) went into my notebook when fourth at Doncaster on good ground back in December. The selection begins life in handicaps from what looks an attractive mark especially when you consider the selection is a half-brother to Henry De Bromhead’s Monalee. Tom O’Brien takes the ride with Richard Johnson at Taunton. Philip Hobbs fits his 6-y-old with a first-time tongue-tie. The ew recommendation is 5s with Unibet 3 places.
At Taunton Fly To Mars (4.42) has been beaten out of sight in a light campaign so far this season for Colin Tizard, but I thought he shaped with promise at Exeter on his chase debut and today’s better ground should suit this maiden who has bits of hurdles form which suggest he should be up to defying a mark of 115.
It is well documented the travails of the Tizard stable of late, but they had several fancied runners on Wednesday. I shall be looking at their form at Wincanton very closely with a view to supporting Fly To Mars who is 4s with BetVictor.