There is a good card at Ludlow and that is where we head for Thursday's attempt at the Placepot...
With only seven set to go to post it is something of a risk to bank on one horse, but Big Casino is clear on Timeform's ratings, will be suited by soft conditions and was in good form when third in a competitive handicap hurdle on Boxing Day...
14:00- Simply A Legend failed to make an impression in a jumpers' bumper last time, despite attracting support, but a reproduction of his earlier second to Wadswick Court in a novices' hurdle over an extended two miles at Huntingdon ought to be good enough to take this. This isn't the most competitive of events and Alan King's charge looks like banker material to finish in the first three.
14:30- Benbens made an encouraging start to life over fences when narrowly failing to reel in Cloudy Joker over C&D in December, looking unlucky as he was hampered four out and hit the second-last fence when attempting to make ground. He tackles Cloudy Joker on 7 lb better terms and looks capable of reversing that form. Benbens has been very lightly raced of late, though, indicating that he is rather fragile, so it is also worth adding Highway Code to the permutation. Highway Code was in excellent heart when last seen and proved at least as good as ever when successful at Newbury in November. Another good effort beckons.
15:00- Dancingtilmidnight is open to plenty of improvement and has obvious claims but, for Placepot purposes, it could be worth taking her on as she returns from a long absence. Molly's A Diva, a three-time bumper winner, looks likely to appreciate the step up to three miles, while the application of headgear is also a positive (can race lazily), so she could make an impact on her handicap debut. She is no banker proposition, however, so we will also include Still Believing who caught the eye when third on her penultimate start here and built on that when winning at this venue last Wednesday.
15:30- Roalco des Farges shaped with obvious promise on his recent return at Sandown and is clearly well treated, but he has been well found in the market and is likely to command a large proportion of the pool, so is worth opposing for Placepot purposes. Firebird Flyer ran easily his best race when finishing runner-up in the West Wales National, simply outstayed in the conditions, and has to be considered with the return to less extreme conditions likely to suit. Brass Tax doesn't look especially well treated but he has taken well to fences, jumps accurately and represents an in-form yard. He should be suited by this sort of trip and is worth adding to the Placepot permutation.
16:00- With only seven set to go to post it is something of a risk to bank on one horse, but Big Casino is clear on Timeform's ratings, will be suited by soft conditions and was in good form when third in a competitive handicap hurdle on Boxing Day. He looks sure to give a good account and will be our sole selection.
16:30- A tricky Hunters' Chase rounds off the Placepot and we will side with Island Life and Chief Heckler. Island Life took on a new lease of life in this sphere in 2012, winning 4 times at up to 21f. He disappointed in a light campaign last season and recent point form hardly inspires, but he is dangerous on old form so is worth including. Chief Heckler showed that he was in reasonable heart with a creditable effort at Leicester earlier in the month, and he shouldn't be left out of considerations.
14:30- 2, 5
15:00- 1, 3
15:30- 1, 8
16:30- 1, 5
= 16 lines
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