I am still kicking myself for deserting Gunsight Ridge at Sandown, but the weekend belonged to Constitution Hill who lit up the Esher track when running away with the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle. The wins of Bavington Bob at Newcastle and Killer Clown at Wincanton maintained our good start to the New Year, but Gunsight Ridge was the one that got away.
The class act on show at Ludlow is Kerry Lee’s Demachine who was last seen finishing fifth in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury when his stamina gave way from two out over that extended 3m 2f+ trip.
He drops back in distance by a furlong this afternoon, which is a plus, and he has been dropped a couple of pounds, but he has been put in at 11/8 and marginal preference is for the mare Legends Gold (1.15).
The selection is a dual winner at Ludlow over hurdles and has run two good races in defeat so far this season. She receives 9lbs from Demachine and that might just make the difference.
Bridge North (2.45) stayed on well when second here on handicap debut when claimer ridder and local trainer Henry Daly will be keen to get a win next to the name of a horse who is presumably named after the Shropshire town. He hardly sets an insurmountable level of form, but he has run well on both starts here and this looks a good opportunity.
Has Troke was not out of it when he came down at the last at Market Rasen last time although I do feel he would have been placed at best, but he represents a danger as does the covid-stricken Nicky Henderson’s Moonlight Flit.
At Taunton I’m looking forward to seeing Jpr One step up in trip having got run out of it close home at Cheltenham last time. He has been put in a shade of odds on in the only tissue I have seen and makes no appeal as a betting medium, but he remains a promising young horse.
Slate House and Elixir Du Nutz have run well for the Tizzard yard since the start of the year, but they have had a miserable time of things in the last month having rediscovered their mojo in the early months of the season.
There is a terrific handicap hurdle on the card with the three runners making their belated seasonal reappearances all fascinating contenders. Arrivederci won first time out last season for Jonjo O’Neill, and he has had wind surgery since running a good race at Ascot last February. Aggy With It hit the deck two out when last seen back in March when she looked to be going best; she may need faster ground.
January is often a quiet month for Paul Nicholls, and he drew a rare blank at his local track Wincanton at the weekend. He saddles two in the valuable 2m 3f hurdle with Harry Cobden riding Cap Du Mathan (3.00) coming back from a near two-year absence.
He had bits of form as a novice which suggest he could be very well handicapped although he can be a tad keen. He will need to settle to get home in this competitive heat. He was considered an embryonic chaser in his early days at Ditcheat, but connections have decided to stick to timber for his comeback.