Latitude shows a breadth of talent
Time was there used to be poor fields after Cheltenham when every owner has tried his darnedest to have a runner at the sport’s marquee event. Owners are faced with considerably more choice nowadays, added to the fact they may be over-faced by the Irish invasion as well. That’s good news for meetings like ours today, in which 42 horses faced the starter in the seven races. In ideal ground conditions, even the hunter chase filled with seven runners.
And perhaps, in unorthodox style, we should start there because those that waited till nearly six pm were rewarded with a splendid flash of finishing speed from novice rider Jonjo Murphy-Knight on Fix At All, who reeled in long time leader Espoir de Teillee in a dramatic turnaround, to record the rider’s first win under Rules. Espoir de Teillee is no slouch either; a former Tom george-trained French-bred, he runs in the colours of Roger Brookhouse, and is now trained by son ben in Newmarket. The 3 1/4l winning distance does not reflect the closeness of the finish.
Colours more familiar on Point-to-Point courses were carried by Latitude in the feature Bromfield Sand & Gravel Handicap Chase, a respectable prize for an otherwise unremarkable midweek fixture. Four chase runs since October have had Latitude knocking on the door each time, but today the seven year old who started his career in a Maisemore Point-to-Point Bumper broke his chase duck in style with 6 1/2l separating him from second placed Concetto. Winning owner is Diana Williams, whose stable has included Hazel Hill, among others, and who can more frequently be found at Chaddesley Corbett. Alex Edwards was in the plate with a welcome 12th winner of the term.
There were no great surprises in the three hurdle races in mid card over distances of 2 – 2m5f other than an endorsement of the emerging talent of youngsters in our weighing room. In the first, the Omnia Art Handicap, a rare Ludlow winner for Paul Nicholls under Harry Cobden created no surprises at 11/10, giving the weighing room’s consummate horseman his 107th winner of the season.
A little over an hour later, Tom Bellamy illustrated why he has earned his right to ride for a top yard when coasting to a facile 18l victory on smart maiden Tightenourbelts for Emma Lavelle, whilst 40 minutes later, Nico de Boinville kept the senior spot in the weighing room occupied when scoring on Amrons Sage for boss Nicky Henderson.
Jonathan Burke has an excellent record at Ludlow, and he showed why when earning his riding fee and then some on 10/11 favourite Welsh Charger in the opening Balfours LLP Novices Hurdle for Alistair Ralph. Throughout the home straight, he looked to be making no impression on leader Gallopade, but a resolute determination by horse and rider saw the Ralph-trained 5 year old keep up his impressive record since the turn of the year that has seen form of 2121 in foru runs, the last three here at Ludlow. He seems to know where the winning post is.
The second race of the day, sponsored by Mark Wiggin Estate Agents, saw victory by jazz King in the Dai Walters’ colours for Sam Thomas and Tom Cannon. The Wiggin family has a long association with Ludlow; Henry Daly trains at Downton Hall on Wiggin property. The winning distance here of 12l also tells a lie. This was far from cut and dried until the last and the second horse Cartonne surely deserves a berth in the winner’s enclosure soon.