Ross Millar has three bets for the racing action at Ludlow and Taunton on Monday - watch both meetings live on Racing TV!
There can be no question who the star performer was this weekend. Constitution Hill proved his win at Sandown in early December was no fluke as he sauntered to an easy win in the Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle.
The post-race interview with his owner, Michael Buckley, was honest and emotional and gave a great insight into the ups and downs of being a racehorse owner (watch below).
The laid-back nature of Constitution Hill, as evidenced by the video of Barry Geraghty’s nine-year-old daughter riding him, has clearly resonated with the public. I can’t remember a jumps horse having such popularity on the back of just two starts.
It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does with runner-up, Jetoile, who ran on Saturday with an official rating of just 125. If treated reasonably, he could be of serious interest for some of the top two-mile handicap hurdles in the future.
Monday’s jump racing action comes from Ludlow and Taunton, and I have three selections across both meetings which will be available to watch on Racing TV.
I was surprised to see Demachine entered here over this 3m1f trip as I had him marked as a non-stayer in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time out (admittedly in a higher grade than this), and had put him in the tracker as one to be of interest over a stiff intermediate trip.
As a consequence, I feel compelled to oppose him on Monday. Jatiluwih is still relatively unexposed over fences in this country, and races off a mark 10lb lower than his rating over hurdles.
The run that particularly interests me is his second in a Hunters’ Chase at Worcester in May where he was beaten less than a length by Wishing And Hoping, who then bolted up in a handicap chase at Aintree off a rating of 135.
Even when allowing for the weight he was in receipt of, that piece of form suggests Jatiluwih is well capable of being better than his current mark of 135.
The soft ground will almost certainly suit better than the ground he encountered when fourth at Ascot last time out, and while that run was marginally disappointing, the subsequent exploits of the second, Eva’s Oscar, to who he was conceding 7lb, gives the form a positive look.
I am a fan of David Maxwell and I am confident he will get the day off to a good start.
This doesn’t look a strong contest, with nearly all of the runners appearing to perform below their best on recent starts.
Java Point did look to be getting back on track at Doncaster last time out where he found only the well-handicapped Dr Sanderson too good.
He showed good form as a novice hurdler at this track when second on soft ground to the highly-regarded Allart. I also have every confidence that stepping up in trip can bring about more improvement.
Johnny Burke has a good strike-rate at Ludlow - four winners from 21 rides in the past 12 months - and I see this as a golden opportunity for him to add one more to his tally.
Tim Vaughan certainly has his team in better form this year and has been back amongst the winners in recent months.
This horse hasn’t yet won for him, since his transfer from Nigel Hawke, but he has run creditably on both starts and he finished very strongly at Wincanton on his last start, so the extra four furlongs here look sure to suit.
Taunton is a sharp track that doesn’t suit plenty of horses, so confidence is boosted given that Young O’Leary has either won, or been placed, on all four of his visits to this west country track.
This doesn’t have a strong look to it as a contest and the strongest challenge may come from Don’t Be Robin, although he is still 5lb above his last winning mark.
David Prichard knows this horse well and claims a valuable 5lb off the big weight of 12st 4lb, and I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t able to win this moderate contest.
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