Wednesday’s race of the day – Who will triumph in Ludlow’s feature handicap?

Jon Vine takes a look through the field set to content this fascinating handicap hurdle at Ludlow and provides readers with his tips in Wednesday’s race of the day on Wednesday 8th January.

Just the one jumps card to have a look at tomorrow, but there are several handicaps taking place at Ludlow for punters to sink their teeth into. I’ve taken a closer look at the three-mile handicap hurdle and highlighted a hardy novice worth backing.

Wednesday’s Race Of The Day at Ludlow

Bhutan

Has shown marked improvement in recent starts, winning at Ludlow in November before a narrow defeat at Catterick just before Christmas. Now back up to a career-high mark. Was beaten 20-lengths off this rating in April, but in much better form now and could still be competitive.

Carrolls Milan

Won over course-and-distance in a handicap for Mares 11 months ago. Followed up with two further victories, including a narrow triumph in mixed-sex company at Perth on final outing. Beaten three-lengths as the favourite on reappearance, before a lengthy defeat at Cheltenham’s International Meeting. Doesn’t look particularly well-treated.

Dolphin Square

Has shown some strong form on novice company since opening account at Exeter in March. Won two good-quality two-and-a-half mile contests so far this term, and also ran well when giving Mossy Fen plenty of weight at Worcester. Did well to finish fourth after coming from well off the pace at Newbury last time. A leading contender once again.

David Maxwell has enjoyed plenty of success riding his own horses this season.

Muthabir

Ran a cracker on only start so far this term, losing out by less than two lengths when carrying odds of 33/1 to post. Up three pounds for that defeat though and he seems to relish decent ground. Tough to see him getting involved.

Shambra

Started the season well, winning a competitive handicap at Plumpton before a narrow defeat in a Mares’ Handicap at Ascot. Never travelling at Cheltenham last time, stayed on to finish distant ninth. Not sure she has much progression left in the tank, and would need a big career-best here.

Treasure Dillon

Ran really well to place third behind Duke Street on reappearance at Cheltenham. Was fancied on return to track at the November Meeting, but was beaten 10-lengths in the end. Ran no better than his rating on both starts this term. Can’t see a smililar performance being good enough.

Verdict

The early odds suggest this will be a tight race, with most bookies listing the whole field between 5/2 and 8/1. To me, though, the two novices look a long way clear of the field and, with Dundrum Wood now a non-runner, I’d be disappointed if the talented and consistent DOLPHIN SQUARE (9/4 William Hill).

Philip Hobbs’ charge has comfortably seen off two subsequent winners in Igor and Kiltealy Briggs this term, and only lost out to the classy Mossy Fen by five lengths, when giving his rival almost a stone at the weight. David Maxwell gave his mount a little too much to do at Newbury, where no-one could live with the pace set by Champers On Ice and Vive Le Roi. This, though, is a much weaker race and Dolphin Square has proven in novice races that he can win when giving dangerous rivals plenty of weight.

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