Through The Card: Ludlow, Thursday 21 March
Timeform take you through the card at Ludlow on Thursday...
"...provided he can settle better, he's fancied to continue his progression and return to winning ways."
Timeform on Sofia's Rock
14:30 - FALCO BLITZ (3) disappointed when a well-supported favourite on hurdling debut at Bangor back in December, but he proved to be a different proposition when second at Warwick last month, only getting headed after the last and not quickening on the run-in. The rival who beat him that day is potentially smart, and having been found similar conditions to last time here, he gets the vote to take this.
15:00 - GORTROE JOE (2) got off them mark at the third attempt over fences when winning over C&D last month, and though his task was made significantly easier due to the departure of two of his rivals four out, he might've still have won on the day. Gortroe Joe has been handed a 5 lb rise for that, something which looks manageable in this company. The presence of front-runners Midnight Chill and Night of Sin means this should be run to suit, and he's fancied to follow-up at the expense of those rivals.
15:35 - SOFIA'S ROCK (4) has looked a good recruit to hurdling in two starts since joining Dan Skelton, winning on debut for the yard at Worcester last September, before improving after five months off the track to finish third at Taunton last month. He refused to settle that day, meaning that a stronger gallop should suit him better, something he should get here with the presence of the front-running Good Man Jim. Sofia's Rock is open to improvement in this sphere, and provided he can settle better, he's fancied to continue his progression and return to winning ways. He's No Trouble got off the mark over C&D last time and rates as the main danger.
16:10 - BALLYWOOD (1) has won two of his three starts over fences to date, and shaped well when stepped up into Grade 2 company at Doncaster in January, finishing second and giving the impression that he has an even bigger effort in his locker when provided with a well-run race. Returned back into handicap company, he's the clear form pick with the potential of more to come, and he's fancied to return tow inning ways. Yorkist got back on track after a breathing operation at Wetherby last month, finishing third, and is feared most.
16:45 - MUSICAL SLAVE (5) showed improved form to get off the mark on handicap debut at Market Rasen last week, looming up two out and produced to lead before the final flight, before quickening clear to score by eight lengths. He ought to carry on improving in this company, and is fancied to defy a penalty and follow up. Guido Reni had been shaping up fairly well prior to disappointing at Leopardstown over Christmas, so could be the one for the forecast.
17:15 - ARTHUR'S SECRET (1) has been lightly-raced since switching to the Martin Weston yard, but he returned from a 265-day break when winning a similar contest over further here last month, making it 3 from 4 in hunters in impressive fashion on the day. He's an uncomplicated ride, and looks worth supporting here considering he could prove difficult to catch from the front. Ballotin completed a simple task at Leicester last month and rates as the biggest danger here if able to build on that.
17:50 - With very little previous form to work with, preference is for the newcomer FLORESSA (8), who makes plenty of appeal on paper (sister to useful hurdler/chaser Polygona) and can make a winning start for the in-form Nicky Henderson team. Shantou Express is another who catches the eye on paper and is worth a market check, while Weapons Out is dangerous with two runs already under his belt.
Minimum Bet Guarantee
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14:30 - 3
15:00 - 2
15:35 - 4
16:10 - 1
16:45 - 5
17:15 - 1