Venetia Williams rides the rollers with Quick Wave
Venetia Williams is leading the charge among the trainers of the Welsh Marches. Quick Wave, off the course since March 2020, and the subject of wind surgery in July, showed no ring-rustiness in bolting up in the feature Plyvine Handicap Chase. Frankly the rest were running around for the minor placings once Harry Bannister released a reef of rein three out. Whilst her jumping wasn’t perfect, it could be argued others were worse. There was a remarkable recovery by our leading amateur, David Maxwell, on Jatiluhwih, whose sprawled landing two out would have catapulted many a rider out of the front door. The race highlights do not always concern the winner!
Another always worth following at Ludlow is Slad – based Tom George, who needs a winner or two to make up for the punishing costs meted out after losing his court case against Tattersalls last month. Java Point, winner of a maiden Point-to-Point at Lismore 3 years ago, has been sparing in his victories since, securing only a maiden hurdle for Kim Bailey last season before switching stables. The Slad team have got the seven year old to the winner’s enclosure quicker for the switch, and top weight wasn’t enough to prevent a solid and accomplished win here by 3l from Isolate from Alan King’s in the Behind Bars Novices Handicap Chase.
Excellence begins at home, so they say, and home is the shortest ride away for Henry Daly, training from Downton Hall Stables, Ludlow’s nearest trainer. The latest winner from Downton, Bridge North, looks every inch a chaser, and he certainly relished the extended 2m 5f of the Luke Watson Memorial Maiden Hurdle. Running in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings, he looks set for a staying chase career in the next few years, but meantime, made winner no. 18 for Henry Daly.
Racing is full of hard luck stories, and one man’s success generally comes at the expense of another slipping down the snake in this perpetual game of snakes & ladders. On the up again after years of vipers in the nest is one Milton Harris, whose horses are in unstoppable form this season from his new yard at Sutton Veney outside Warminster. A double on the card, from Khan in the Ludlow Brewery Handicap Hurdle, followed by Mullenbeg in the Bumper, continued an excellent month in which Knight Salute has given him a ticket to the Triumph Hurdle. With a 27% strike rate, Harris is hot to trot at the moment, and runners are ignored at your peril. Khan was scoring his fourth victory of the campaign.
No Ludlow meeting would be complete without a sally from Warwickshire, and the remaining two races of the day both fell to trainers from the county of the Kingmaker. In the opener, the murkiness of the weather made the winner’s performance that much easier for race readers. Olly Murphy’s Dr T J Eckleburg was a hands and heels winner of the juvenile hurdle, whilst Jet Plane won the first division of the maiden hurdle for the Skelton yard.