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Dark Horses 3rd March

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2:00 Ludlow – Quoi De Neuf

A mark of 129 looks very fair based on the ability that QUOI DE NEUF has shown over fences, although his connections will probably be frustrated by the return of just 1 win from 7 starts over fences. He is an extremely strong traveler, though perhaps doesn’t always find too much when asked for maximum effort, a trait that was shown last time out over this course and distance. That was just 3-weeks ago, when he looked the most likely winner as they turned for home, but could only finish 3rd, beaten 9-lengths. On the face of it, that was quite a disappointing result, but the 2nd placed horse Chambard has won since to boost that form and is now rated 7lbs higher than when he ran here. Quoi De Neuf has been given another 2lbs back by the handicapper for that run and he is now just 6lbs higher than when winning at Taunton in the autumn, whilst his main rival Karl Philippe will be attempting to overcome a career high mark. In this small field, he should get a pace to track and may have too much class for his 3-rivals.

3:30 Ludlow – Picanha

There are plenty of doubts as to whether any of these 6 novice hurdlers are well treated on their current marks, but the solid option is definitely PICANHA. Richard Phillips has been dropped 7lbs for his 4th placed finish at Cheltenham in January and a mark of 122 looks very fair based on the form he showed when winning a bumper and a Warwick novice hurdle. That Cheltenham race was probably a step too far, but the Novice hurdle he won at Warwick in December has worked out well with the 3rd and 4th both winning in the interim. Daniel Hiskett takes off a useful 3lbs on Thursday and that makes him look very fairly treated in comparison to his rivals.

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