Dark Horses Wed 9th Feb

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3:00 Ludlow – Trapista
An expensive purchase for JP McManus after winning a conditions hurdle at Angers in March 2021, TRAPISTA made a winning start to her British career at Huntingdon in October. Sent off as favourite for a Mares Handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in December, she appeared to disappoint when finishing 6th, beaten 14-lengths. With hindsight, that race has worked out quite well, with the winner Martello Sky landing a Listed race on her next start and given that Trapista was held up in rear on a day when 6 of the 7 winners on the card made the running, we can forgive that effort. The handicapper has dropped her 1lb after that run and she enters much calmer waters at Ludlow on Wednesday. The better going and a flat speed track like Ludlow should be her ideal conditions and she looks to have been well placed to get her career back on track.

3:07 Sedgefield – Itsalonglongroad
John McConnell has a 23% strike rate with his horses in the UK so far this season, with 10 winners from 43 runners for the County Meath yard when they cross the Irish Sea. He looks to have found a good opportunity for ITSALONGLONGROAD on Wednesday, as his 8-year-old son of Lawman will seek an 8th career victory under rules. This will be his first run in the UK and although the British handicapper has allotted him a mark of 111, 5lbs higher than his Irish mark, he has run well on higher marks in the past so it shouldn’t be of too much concern. He was last seen finishing 4th in a decent handicap chase at Fairyhouse in January, where he made the running and was unlucky to be caught in the closing stages. He disputed the lead for much of that race, with his rival on the front end Dasmyhoss, finishing 20-lengths behind him by the finish, so we can perhaps upgrade that performance. Although it won’t be an easy task to carry 12-2 around Sedgefield, this is a drop in class and he should get a soft lead in front if Sean Bowen decides to use the same tactics. With the Sue Smith Treshnish his likely rival, he should be able to get his own way.

4:40 Sedgefield – Latino Fling
She has taken her time to come to hand, but this season looks to be the year for LATINO FLING. She is a daughter of Milan, who won her 2nd start in point to points at Loughrea by a distance in October 2020, beating a subsequent novice hurdle winner Pay the Woman by a distance. She took 6 starts under rules to get her head in front, including 2 placed efforts at this track in the autumn, before finally coming good to land a mare’s handicap hurdle at Catterick 2-weeks ago. Despite racing keenly, she took up the running under Brian Hughes at the 2nd last and had the race won by the time they reached the final furlong. She has been raised 7lbs for that win, but if anything, this is a weaker contest and so she looks to have been very well placed by her in form yard.

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