Perfect jumping conditions for the last jumps meeting of the season at Ludlow with the ground described as good to soft on Tuesday morning.
In the opener Green Book is a shade of odds on to follow up his weekend success in a conditional jockey’s event at Haydock when he raced off today’s mark of 122 although his talented conditional took off a valuable 10lbs. He can race from the same mark today, the step up in trip will suit and will be 8lbs higher in the handicap from Boxing Day. Note trainer Venetia Williams has saddled the winner of this corresponding race twice in the last three
He looks the one to beat but his hurdling was not as fluent as it could be at Haydock and an each way alternative could be the Fergal O’Brien trained City Derby (12.15) who steps up in trip having disappointed at Sandown last time. He is best judged on his previous fourth in a Cheltenham handicap when he gave every indication, he would be well served by a step up in distance.
The ew selection – 14s with Boylesports – has a Bumper and Maiden Hurdle won to his name and will be ridden by the handler’s daughter Fern who will be having her first ride over jumps although she does have four wins under her belt on the flat.
There is a competitive mares’ novice hurdle and Kimmins is on something of a retrieval mission having not gone a yard on fast ground at Fontwell back in the summer. Her Aintree second on her penultimate start is good form and she must go close for her powerful connections.
The each way vote, however, goes to Miss Fairfax (1.15) who travelled wide throughout when second at Leicester over this trip on her hurdles debut. She had useful if not outstanding Bumper form but should come on for her first start over timber. The 3s available is about right.
The feature race is the 3m handicap chase and I hope to see Dublin Four (2.15) follow up his win at Newbury six weeks ago as he staps back up to three miles. The selection – 5/2 with 10Bet– would not want too much rain and has never won going right-handed but he looked one to follow at the Berkshire track and a 5lbs rise looks fair.
Hughie Morrison saddles Meadow Sprite (4.30) in the 12f handicap at Southwell and the filly is chasing her third win in her last four starts having made all to win on polytrack over 12f last time at Kempton under Marco Ghiani who keeps the ride this afternoon. She is not exactly bred for this distance but improved again for the step up in trip last time and gets the vote at 5/2 with MansionBet.