Matthew Hulmes, a Betfred TV Broadcaster, has become the latest industry expert to take the Tipster Challenge at Ludlow.
Hulmes said: “There is a cracking card at Ludlow this afternoon; the independent track have once again been rewarded for their efforts as huge entries have been received for a meeting with decent prize money.
“It is the destination for this afternoon’s tote jackpot too on the first six races and finding winners doesn’t look easy, but we’ll have a good go.”
Hulmes will be going up against Stephen Harris from bettingexpert, who sits in ninth place, and the experts from Timeform, who have held firm in seventh after collecting the most points from the last three weeks of action. Alan Alger, PR Manager from Betway, leads the way on 11.41 points.
bettingexpert: Brahms De Clermont
Has been found a soft opening to make a winning hurdling debut.
Timeform: Brahms De Clermont
Has some smart form to his name in bumpers, and he is a very interesting hurdling debutant representing a top yard, so is taken to make a winning start in this sphere.
Betfred: Monbeg Oscar
Sixteen are set to face the starter for the opener and Paul Nicholls’ Brahms De Clermont sets the standard after landing one Cheltenham bumper and finishing sixth in a listed contest at the same venue. River Wylde is also feared as he was well backed against Brahms De Clermont at Prestbury Park but never got competitive.
I’m taking a chance on Monbeg Oscar who was fourth at Uttoxeter on rules debut after winning by a distance in a point-to-point. Evan Williams has had northwards of 18% strike rates at the track in last three seasons, and will look to add another winner at the Shropshire venue to his CV.
bettingexpert: Kilcrea Vale
Has plenty of size to make a chaser and can outclass these if jumping well first time up.
Timeform: Westren Warrior
A fascinating novice chase with Westren Warrior’s proven stamina and race fitness tipping the balance in his favour over Zamdy Man.
Betfred: Kilcrea Vale
An excellent novice chase takes place at 1.05 with Westren Warrior the standard bearer on his chase debut second to Aux Ptit Soins at Kelso recently. However, a drop in trip on a tight track and better ground may all count against him. Zamdy Man won his second chasing start at Uttoxeter back in April and is feared but a chance is taken on Kilcrea Vale.
His handler Nicky Henderson has a 25% strike rate at Ludlow in the last five years and this high-class novice hurdler has only had five starts, including an impressive 26 length victory that saw him well backed for the 2015 Cheltenham Festival. Clearly, he has his problems but could be head and shoulders above these if the ability remains.
bettingexpert: Colins Brother
Landed a gamble on his seasonal debut at Bangor and will relish the better ground expected this afternoon.
Timeform: Sizing Platinum
Has had excuses the last twice and remains one to be positive about after his promising second at Cheltenham on debut for this yard.
Betfred: Sizing Platinum
A fascinating two mile handicap chase is race three on the card where the all-conquering Tizzard team can once again grace the winners’ enclosure via Sizing Platinum. He has run at every Cheltenham meeting this season, finishing second to his now stable mate Fox Norton and finishing fourth to Eastlake earlier this month.
He likes decent ground and has form on tight tracks like Galway from his time in Ireland. It’s a good contest though and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Going Concern go well after falling when looking likely to go close at the track last time out. Colin’s brother has been hit by the handicapper for winning a soft race at Bangor, while Noche De Reyes is a consistent type but does find winning hard.
bettingexpert: Brillare Momento
Has been competing in some warm bumpers and will relish 2m 5f now going hurdling.
Timeform: Tara View
Opened her account over hurdles in good style first time up here last month and can follow up with the longer trip sure to suit.
Betfred: Wizard’s Sliabh
A good mare’s novice hurdle is the conundrum facing punters for race four. Two dual winners have penalties to defy in Tara View and Wizard’s Sliabh. The latter is the selection for the in-form team of Fergal O’Brien and Paddy Brennan. She won on hurdling debut at Market Rasen after winning a Perth bumper and may appreciate this slight step up in trip.
She can get the better of Tara View who won at Ludlow on her hurdling debut when odds on favourite. It was only a neck verdict and she takes a giant leap up in trip from two miles. Tinted Rose is a danger under Sam Twiston-Davies but has some ground to make up on the selection from their meeting at Market Rasen.
bettingexpert: Fox Appeal
Has been running well in stronger handicaps and has ideal conditions here to go close under Richard Johnson.
Timeform: Sugar Baron
Sugar Baron has made a promising start to his chasing career despite falling at Sandown last time, and is marginally preferred to Calett Mad.
Betfred: Calett Mad
Race five is the highlight of the fixture with fifteen runners facing the starter for a £25,000 contest. I would have to give the enigmatic Go West Young Man a chance as he has plenty of ability, but has his own ideas about the game expect to see him travel strongly but either throw it away or refuse to go through with a finishing effort. He can go well each way but there may be a handicap snip in here courtesy of Calett Mad.
He is a half-brother to Grade one winner Ar Mad and made a pleasing debut in this country when winning at Newcastle last month. After a couple of early niggly mistakes he jumped impeccably and was noticeably going best until perhaps getting tired in closing stages on his first run for a year since leaving France. He can build on that under just a 3lb rise and with plenty of improvement fitness wise expected, he rates a decent selection for the day’s feature.
Will soon be ten lengths clear at a brisk pace and will take plenty of catching at this sharp track.
Vocaliser’s flat form offers hope he can progress in this sphere, and given the form of his third-place effort at Sandown recently has been well advertised, he has a lot going for him from an unchanged mark.
Betfred: Catchin Time
A tricky Lady Amateur Riders race is the penultimate race on a cracking card at Ludlow this afternoon. There should be plenty of pace on here as five of them have used front running tactics recently with Danceintothelight dropping in trip here after a comfortable success at Catterick last time out. Donald McCain’s daughter Abbie once again takes the reins. Apache Outlaw was a winner at Taunton in March but hasn’t fared well since joining Shark Hanlon in Ireland.
However, the handler has a good record with his ventures over the Irish Sea and is respected with the talented Jodie Hughes aboard. A chance is taken though on Catchin Time to put a below par effort behind him and bounce back. That was seasonal debut so will strip fitter here and is well treated on some old form. Crucially he likes to be held up in a race that can be run at a ferocious gallop.
bettingexpert: Black Mischief
Has shown enough in two starts to take a race of this nature with further progress certain.
Timeform: Top Ville Ben
Nicky Henderson can land this bumper for a fourth time in six years with Top Ville Ben, who won a point in the spring and rates a good prospect.
Betfred: Top Ville Ben
Traditionally bumpers are run as the final race on Ludlow’s card and traditionally Nicky Henderson’s charges win them or go very close. He has taken 35% of them in the last five seasons and saddles an interesting recruit from the Irish point-to-point sphere here in Top Ville Ben.
It may not be as a competitive a race as the numbers suggest, with fifteen set to line up. Mountain Chimes and Solomon Grey are feared debutants, however there has been some positive murmurings about Top Ville Ben recently and I expect him to make a winning rules debut.
Hulmes concluded: “So there we go. Hopefully some of the seven will help pay for the day at Ludlow this afternoon. Best of luck whatever you’re backing.”
Tipster Challenge 2016/17 Leaderboard
|1||Alan Alger - Betway||3||11.41|
|2||Phillip Anderson - Before The Off||3||6.17|
|3||Ciaran O'Brien - William Hill||3||5.29|
|4||John Hill - Coral||2||4.25|
|5||Michael Shinners - Sky Bet||2||4.00|
|6||Stuart Tilly - Argyll Entertainment||1||4.00|
|8||Trevor Keane - Sportego||2||3.50|
|10||Charlie McCann - BetVictor||1||1.75|
|11||John Cruces - Dafabet||1||1.25|
|12||Michael Whittle - Team FA||1||0.91|
|13||Ed Nicholson - Unibet||1||0.73|