The small-field graduation chase at Newbury gives Ludlow's similarly strong card the edge from a Placepot perspective.
"This is a genuine cracker for a midweek handicap. Opening Batsman is clearly interesting from a reduced mark following a more encouraging show in the Badger Ales, though he’s not really a Placepot option."
12:20 - We're instantly presented with an opportunity to take on a favourite. There has just been a little too much temperament in Days of Heaven's displays up to now, so we're taking him on with Alto des Mottes. The selection's hurdling debut, which came when his yard were still coming to the boil, looks strong now and he's open to plenty of improvement from it.
12:50 - There are no solid alternatives to It's A Steal in leg two and that one is difficult to oppose anyway after such an impressive victory at Warwick last week.
13:20 - Hopefully all eight will remain in this race as it's a closely-matched handicap and we wouldn't fancy only two places being on offer. Our best hopes appear to be Le Bacardy, who has put up respectable efforts on both starts this winter, and Oyster Shell. The second-named has a squiggle, but it's only on account of him refusing to race a couple of runs back. When he has raced, which is every other time he's made the track, he's been consistent.
13:50 - In terms of consistency, Acapulco Bay is a clear winner in this low-grade handicap. He's a raw two-miler to who all ground seems to come alike. Rolling Dough gets second spot, her consistency being enough to surmount doubts over whether she'll be truly effective at two miles. There's also a nice little dovetail with Acapulco Bay, who would be better suited by a test of speed.
14:25 - This is a genuine cracker for a midweek handicap. Opening Batsman is clearly interesting from a reduced mark following a more encouraging show in the Badger Ales, though he's not really a Placepot option. My Wigwam Or Yours (third in an excellent novice handicap at Huntingdon on chasing debut) and Gorsky Island (winner over a similar C&D on each of last two starts) are more attractive to us.
15:00 - We're going to take on Tara Point here given she's coming off an absence and has no hurdling experience. The problem is that we need to take two if we're going down that route. Triumph Davis gets in first, not long with Nigel Twiston-Davies and better for her reappearance. The other is Ballyhollow, who seems likely to benefit from the step up in trip now she's got to grips with hurdling.
12:20 - 1
12:50 - 6
13:20 - 3, 5
13:50 - 7, 11
14:25 - 3, 6
15:00 - 2, 9
= 16 lines