Ludlow not rewarded with the fields it deserves
Ludlow has a justified reputation for offering decent prize-money and its managers must wonder what they have done wrong to deserve Thursday's paltry turnout.
Whatever the explanations – there are always an assortment – it's an unsatisfactory state of affairs. Better call in the person who carries out post-mortems.
The 0-150 handicap chase (4.10), with total prize-money of almost £20,000, has just five runners, one more than the novices' chase (3.05) which offers almost £13,000. If Gino Trail has scared away the opposition it's good news for the connections of the ten-year-old's three very undistinguished rivals who will be rewarded with a share of at least £4,419. Well done to them.
Ludlow is an idiosyncratic track, with all those road crossings, but overall it attracts respectable average field sizes and the advance going of soft, good to soft in places isn't a sufficient explanation for mass absenteeism.
Five of Thursday's seven races have fields of either four or five runners, six compete for almost £8,000 in the mares' novices' hurdle (3.40) and only the hunter chase (4.40) reaches the magical figure of eight.
Chepstow, where the advance going is soft, heavy in places, offers less prize-money for races of the same class as well as staging other lower class races. It has been rewarded with bigger field sizes.
It must be tempting for Ludlow to throw a fit, cut prize-money and put on more lower class races. I'm pretty sure its rulers won't but they deserve better support than they are getting on Thursday.
At Ludlow the hunter chase (class 5, total prize-money £5,775) is the most interesting race, with old favourites like Galway Jack, Pearlysteps and Penmore Mill competing while the hunter chase at Chepstow (class 6, total prize-money £1,925) also has an appeal.
That is mainly because of the curiosity aroused by the unfamiliar names hunter chases throw up. Who, for instance, is trainer Mrs Julie Wadland, having her first runner under Rules with multiple point-to-point winner All Great N Theory (Chepstow 4.50)? Is she the former Julie Marles, former trainer of the same horse? This is just one of the questions to which I do not know the answer.
I can, however, tell you that Dr Charles Levinson, trainer of Benvolio and father of rider Mr Gus Levinson, aged 18, founded and manages Doctorcall. The idea is that you pay him or one of his team to come and see how ill you are. They might be able to do something about it.
I'm tempted to Doctorcall because I think I've got flu and Levinson is an expert, among other things, on flu and flu inoculation. I'll be able to tell him that the injection I had (not from Doctorcall) doesn't seem to have worked.
The Levinsons have had a string of successes with Premier Portrait and Benvolio has a reasonable chance. Even so, my tip for the top is Pink Gin (Chepstow 3.50) who faces a motley bunch. Go on!