Five UK & Irish meetings have survived the weather on Thursday, with action at Ludlow, Clonmel and Carlisle over jumps joined by all-weather flat cards from Lingfield and Wolverhampton.
Amongst our fancies on Thursday is one for the red-hot Sam Thomas team at the Cumbrian venue.
14:55 Ludlow – Choccabloc @ 2/1
Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville are always a force to reckon with at Ludlow, where the Seven Barrows trainer has a strike-rate of 21 per cent across the last five season from more than 100 runners.
They team up today with hurdles newcomer Choccabloc in Division 2 of the Tom Calvert Memorial Novices’ Hurdle.
He was useful in bumpers last season, getting on the scoresheet at Market Rasen in May after placed efforts at Wincanton and Chepstow previously.
He starts out on his jumping journey in the hands of de Boinville, who has been in good form lately with a couple of winners from seven rides as the season picks up pace.
Dan Skelton’s Ittack Blue is a fair opponent, but Choccabloc in on the Most Napped table via the Betfred Betfinder and is fancied to oblige.
15:55 Carlisle – Good Risk At All @ 5/2
Trainer Sam Thomas gave his string the summer off, with no runners from June until this month’s big meeting at Chepstow – a sure sign that the National Hunt season was going up a gear.
Thomas has developed a good reputation since taking out his license, with a particularly good record at getting his horses ready for a positive comeback.
So it proved at Chepstow, where Alfie’s Princess, Stolen Silver and Al Dancer ensured he left the meeting with three wins from just three attempts.
He can continue that hot streak with chasing newcomer Good Risk At All this afternoon at Carlisle.
A talented hurdler, he won over this trip here on heavy ground on his seasonal comeback last term and ran fine races in defeat at Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring.
His record fresh is a positive as is his course experience and Charlie Deutsch’s mount has the appearance of making a decent chaser.
19:30 Wolverhampton – Belle Fourche @ 11/2
Belle Fourche is a former Wolverhampton winner, scoring over 6f here 12 months ago in what was her second all-weather start after joining David O’Meara from Ireland.
She went close again in July on her first start of 2023, beaten less than a length into third off a mark of 76 and, after some less promising efforts in between, her latest Chelmsford second was a good effort.
She was only picked off quite late in the piece by a well-handicapped winner to whom she was conceding 8lb in that contest and she looks ready to win again, being as she is able to race from 5lb below last year’s Wolverhampton win mark.