Today's Racing News: Mullins and Elliott go head to head at Thurles

Carlisle is one of four jumps meetings on Thursday.

On the eve of the Cheltenham open meeting, there are four jumps meetings for punters to warm up with, and Daryl Carter is providing all of today's important info.

"He is entitled to improve for fitness and for experience, and he looks like the most progressive horse in this field. He jumped out slightly to the right at Worcester, and although the bare form may argue, a switch to a right-handed track should suit him now over fences..."

Yes, Thursday is the first time that jumps racing dominates the racecards during the day with four meetings from Ludlow, Carlisle, Newton Abbot and Thurles.

Don't panic, flat fans. Wolverhampton keeps the show on the road in that sphere with an evening card of eight races.

Money Talk

Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.

13:38 Newton Abbot - Doyen Queen 8/1 into 13/2
14:40 Ludlow - Yauthym 11/2 into 4/1
16:50 Carlisle - Rickety Gate 9/1 into 13/2
19:00 Wolverhampton - Upton Park 7/2 into 11/4

The market says LAY!

Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?

14:40 Ludlow - Edinburgh Castle 13/8 OUT 2/1

Market support for Yauthym is pushing the price of Edinburgh Castle out very quickly this morning. He is today's market advised lay bet.

Mark your card

The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!

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At Ludlow, Handicap Chase favourites have been profitable to back to the tune of £22 to a £1 level stake in the last five years. Raya Time 2.56/4 at 14:05 and Goldencard 2.56/4 15:15 are the two favourites for these races at the time of writing.

Trainer Tracey Leeson is on the hunt for her first trained winner after sending out 97 runners. She will be hoping Top Drawer 23.022/1 can get her off the mark in the 15:50 Butcher Woods Ltd. Novices' Handicap Hurdle at Ludlow.

At Carlisle in the 13:55 Every Race Live On Racing TV Novices' Hurdle, favourite Mister Whitaker 2.47/5 returns to hurdles for the first time since April 2017. He was only rated 118 over hurdles, so don't let that 140 rating earnt over fences sway your opinion - he is not bombproof.

Arian 5.04/1 and trainer Phillip Hobbs will look for back to back wins in the 15:23 Handicap Chase at Newton Abbot.

The first of many battles to come - Mullins V Elliott

At Thurles, in the 15:30 He'llberemembered Hurdle, 2019, Albert Bartlett, runner-up and Grade 1 Dublin Festival winner Commander Of Fleet 2.915/8, will look to get his career back on track for Gordon Elliott as he takes on Willie Mullins' Stratum 2.47/5.

Commander Of Fleet saddles a six-pound penalty in his bid to score in back to back events here at Thurles, and although that was a step back in the right direction, he is yet to replicate the form of either of his two performances mentioned above.

Stratum holds obvious claims, receiving weight and having a fitness edge, but he hasn't won over hurdles since May 2019. Throw the unexposed Holymacapony 6.05/1 in the mix, and we have a right race on our hands.

Willie Mullins has strength in depth with his 2021/22 squad, and this will be the first battle in a long season war with Gordon Elliott.

At Wolverhampton, jockey PJ Mcdonald has a 75% strike rate when riding for Simon and Ed Crisford at this venue. Today he rides Matamua 7.513/2 in the 17:30 MansionBet Proud Partners Of AWC Handicap.

The Queen owned runners have a 22% strike rate at Wolverhampton, and they are profitable to back £60.88 to a £1 level stake. Today the Queen has Loudspeaker 13.012/1 at 19:00.

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Horses for courses

This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today's tracks and could be in with a chance today.

13:38 Newton Abbot - My Lady Grey - Has won here twice (22%)
14:05 Ludlow - Flashing Glance - Has won here twice (40%) - Jumping issues?
15:23 Newton Abbot - Colonal Custard - Has won here twice (100%)
17:30 Wolverhampton - Frow - Has won here four times (50%)
17:30 Wolverhampton - Port Noir - Has won here three times (43%)
18:30 Wolverhampton - Astaroth - Has won here twice (10%)

Weighted to go well

"Weighted to go well" highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.

13:38 Newton Abbot - Mabela - Has won off 107 runs off 83
14:40 Ludlow - Karakoram - Has won off 108 runs off 89
17:30 Wolverhampton - Kathefa - Has won off 89 runs off 73

Form Watch

This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.

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Jockey Brian Hughes has been operating at a 27% strike rate in the past 14 days, and has finished first or second in his last five rides. Today he has six rides at Carlisle.

Furthest traveller

Today's furthest traveller is trainer Debra Hamer. She travels 196 miles to Newton Abbot with her runner Meechlands Magic 23.022/1 in the 17:05.

Race of the day

Today's feature race comes from Carlisle and is the 15:40 Antonia Reid Lifetime In Racing Winner Handicap Chase, where a field of eight goes to post for the contest over 3m2f.

Present Chief had a very productive season last term over hurdles before rounding his campaign off with two disappointing runs in the spring. It would be easy to argue that he had reached the ceiling of his ability after climbing the ratings from a mark of 103 to 126.

However, his reappearance on chase debut would suggest he has plenty more to offer still. He jumped well on the whole when held up in a steadily run race and caught the eye, finishing strongly.

He is entitled to improve for fitness and for experience, and he looks like the most progressive horse in this field. He jumped out slightly to the right at Worcester, and although the bare form may argue, a switch to a right-handed track should suit him now over fences and with a good clip likely here, he looks the obvious choice.

Oscar Montel has been a model of consistency over the summer, and his only poor effort came on a right-handed track which is cause for concern.

He has looked a little one-paced, including at Warwick last time, and he might just be handicapped to his best here.

However, he does get the services of jockey Brian Hughes, and he looks one of the likelier types to hit the frame.

Speak Of The Devil lacks match practice, but he scored first time out last season at his favoured Hexham and is now two for two on good ground.

He will surely prove popular, but he has failed to replicate his Hexham form, for which his form figures read 12413 - anywhere else.

He is now just 1lb below his career-high mark, and he will need more to defy the handicapper.

Timeform head to Wolverhampton with their NAP, NB and each way tips

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The Timeform team will be hoping to land some cash at Wolverhampton today with three of their best bets.

Read Timeform tips here.

Final Word

There are plenty of opportunities today to claim some cash before a very busy weekend of racing. Cheltenham will take firm focus tomorrow in this column, and I am sure they expect big crowds given many missed their festival fix.

Down Royal have sold out their tickets for racing on Champion Chase day next weekend, which will see their biggest crown since 2019.

It's been a long, long time coming but dare I say things are starting to get back to normal?

It feels as though horse racing has been hit hard over the last 18 months, so please do if you can get out to support your local course.

Until tomorrow, be lucky.

Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7

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