LUCKY SEVEN YOUNG PRETENDERS FOR CHAMPION HURDLE CROWN: There is a vacancy at the top of the hurdles tree but no shortage of applicants for the job. It was no surprise to see a youngster entered this week but seven or eight you could call potential champions are possibles at this stage. Daqman checks them out against BETDAQ offers in his 2020 Vision series which will examine each case later on, as stable plans are refined.
WINCANTON CANCELLED BUT LUDLOW AND MARKET RASEN ARE ON: Today’s meeting at waterlogged Wincanton is the latest casualty to the weather but Ludlow and Market Rasen go ahead and there’s support from the Newcastle (AW) card on Tapeta.
WHO IS CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS?
2020 VISION: It’s potentially the hottest Champion Hurdle for young pretenders and there could be an Istabraq or See You Then among them, the only triple champions since Persian War more than 50 years ago.
To start on such a path, you need a young horse, aged five or six, preferably unbeaten or nearly so. They don’t come along often but this year there is potentially seven or eight!
2-1121 Abacadabras (G Elliott) Leopardstown Future Champion 26.0 BETDAQ
131-11 Cornerstone Lad (M Hammond) won Fighting Fifth: 45.0 BETDAQ
110-11 Epatante (N Henderson) won Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle: 4.2 BETDAQ
11-111 Envoi Allen (G Elliott) won Royal Bond: 25.0 BETDAQ
21-11P Fusil Raffles (N Henderson) won Elite Hurdle: 25.0 BETDAQ
111-11 Honeysuckle (H de Bromhead) won Hatton’s Grace Hurdle: 10.0 BETDAQ
11-130 Klassical Dream (W Mullins) Punchestown Champion Novice: 13.5 BETDAQ
111-0 Pentland Hills (N Henderson) 2019 Triumph Hurdle: 7.8 BETDAQ
* If you can’t find an offer to suit you on the exchange, make your own offer! Or switch to BETDAQ Sportsbook, where prices this morning included 4 Epatante, 8 Pentland Hills, 11 Envoi Allen, 11 Honeysuckle, 11 Klassical Dream, 17 Fusil Raffles, 26 Abacadabras, 34 Cornerstone Lad.
ON GARDE! HIS FORM LOOKS GOOD
2.20 Ludlow At Its Own Expense, who is at the age of an improver, has moved between ratings – hurdles and chases – of between 124 and 128 since getting off the mark last February, so nothing really happening, then.
Minella For Me, on the other hand, landed back-to-back wins in the Spring to take his chase mark up a stone and, despite being aged 10, is still a force at this level.
He was in a higher grade on his reappearance when fading only on the run-in at Newbury in a strong little race.
Trainer Tom George explains that Minella For Me was a slow learner; his reservations this morning concern the ground, and he’s a drifter. Night Of Sin definitely prefers a firm surface.
Town Parks hasn’t won for two years but is down the weights now, while Almazhar Garde (3.5 offers) scored easily at Catterick when the runner-up was a decent benchmark (never out of the frame) and is the one to beat.
2.45 Market Rasen It’s a first as far as I know: Willie Mullins has a runner at Market Rasen. And another first perhaps: Paul Townend rides.
They pair up for Panic Attack, a cheap yearling buy (6,000 euros) getting all the allowances here for a prize which is double what they paid for her. It won’t be easy.
Hollymount Holly, who cost 62,000, is unbeaten in a Point and a bumper (her bumper runner-up, Misstree Song, takes her on again).
But the talking horse, over and above the Irish whispers for Willie, is Midnight Ginger in her first hurdle, her target set as Aintree at the Grand National meeting.
Sister to seven winners, including William H Bonney, who won first time of asking and boasted returns of 121 until meeting a certain Altior at Cheltenham, but came back to form the following January to take a big-field hurdle at the same venue.
LONG TRIP SHOULD SUIT SUBWAY
2.55 Ludlow Winter Getaway was a comfortable winner over 2m 5f at Warwick in November, with Ziggy Rose second and Subway Surf third.
Winter Getaway and Ziggy Rose have both been beaten, upped to 3m since, and I prefer Subway Surf, who is from the family of Cab On Target, 18 times a hurdles and chase winner up to around 3m 2f.
Her biggest danger may be Legends Gold, who gave weight and a six-lengths beating to Ziggy Rose here at Ludlow.
Well beaten trying the Cheltenham championship course, upped to class 2, and not guaranteed to get the 3m but the obvious move to return to Ludlow.
2.20 Ludlow (win 12)
BET 4.25pts win (nap) ALMAZHAR GARDE
2.45 Market Rasen (win 10 and stakes saver)
BET 5.25pts win MIDNIGHT GINGER
BET 2pts win PANIC ATTACK
2.55 Ludlow (win 15 and stakes saver)
BET 3.5pts win SUBWAY SURF
BET 1pt win LEGENDS GOLD
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