12:35 Ludlow The market for this race is likely to revolve around Paul Nicholls’ two-time bumper winner Brahms De Clermont, who should make an equally useful hurdler. The five year old probably didn’t handle the soft ground in the Listed bumper last month, so wouldn’t want any more rain in Shropshire. He’s well related to winners over hurdles and fences, so looks to be a big player. River Wylde is likely to enter the equation given his connections of Daryl Jacob in the saddle and trained by Nicky Henderson. He was down the field in the bumper, won by the Nicholls horse at Cheltenham, when running no sort of race at all. He was second in a point-to-point last November then he got off the mark for his new yard at the second attempt in bumpers when bolting up at Warwick in similar conditions. You have to expect a better showing from him now over hurdles. The one that looks to worthy of the play is Harry Fry’s charge Melrose Boy. Noel Fehily is in the saddle and the pair teamed up for a winner yesterday at Taunton and can strike again with this four year old. He ran over four furlongs further on his hurdles debut but was unable to push Rolling Dylan, who was rewarded for his consistent efforts. The second from that race Above Board has since won, therefore adding some depth to it. This son of Saint Des Saints will enjoy conditions and if running to the level he did 39-days ago I think he’ll make the frame. In time he is one that could make more of a stayer. Melrose Boy (WIN)
13:05 Ludlow There’s only seven runners in this Novices’ Chase but there is one that could improve from his chasing debut and that is Westren Warrior, who chased home Aux Ptits Soins at Kelso 17-day ago. Dr Richard Newland’s horses are in fine fettle with a winner and a second on Monday up at Ayr. This seven year old looked a little untidy at times but he shaped with potential of making a useful type. The drop to this two-mile-four-furlong trip could also see him get his head in front. Zamdy Man was a winner when last seen 235-days ago at Uttoxeter and he makes his return to the track with conditions that should suit. He had a few tricky assignments over both sets of obstacles last season and if campaigned better he could prove to be on a good mark for chasing after just a 2lb rise for that April win. Ben Pauling’s Cyrius Morivere fell on his chase debut, so this six year old may look a little uncomfortable because that could dent his confidence. It’s quite a quick return to the track just 12-days later however he did show promise as a novice over hurdles. Royal Redemption is one to watch for Charlie Mann after a 609-day absence plus Adrian Heskin has been profitable to follow blind when going over fences. Westren Warrior (WIN)
15:30 Newcastle A Class 6 handicap does sum this race up in all honesty. Andys Girl is likely to be favoured in the betting being an unexposed three year old. This grey filly has only had four starts and her latest was the best to date when second over course and distance. This is her handicap debut and after being allocated a mark of 60, the handicapper reacted to that promising effort by putting her up to 62. The winner of that race has won again, so you could argue she bumped into one that day. She is likely to have more to offer in a bid to make it fifth time lucky. The enigma that is Cliff has been quite consistent of late for his standards. One win in 31 starts does sum up his character and it was Josephine Gordon that rode him to the victory last time. The partnership is retained and dropping back a furlong in trip could see him trying to fend them off from the front but the question is will he have the early speed required. A chance is taken on Letbygonebeicons. This three year old hasn’t won since getting off the mark in August 2015. This season he has been very consistent and is yet to be rewarded. This is his first start for John Balding after switching from Ann Duffield and sometimes you see a change of scenery doing them a world of good. This son of Sixties Icon best effort came over track and trip back in August when going down by half a length as a 20/1 shot. He’s 1lb lower now than that run and if taking to the surface once again could be on the premises. Letbygonesbeicons (E/W)
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