Ashforth’s Angles: Welcome distractions come at Ludlow
Rachel Blackmore: riding at Ludlow for the first time on Thursday
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos Welcome distractions
at Ludlow after chaos By David Ashforth 6:00PM 9 NOV 2016
AFTER they changed the shape of Toblerone, I suppose anything could happen but it's difficult to concentrate on Ludlow and Southwell after what happened in Florida and Pennsylvania. Still, needs must.
Ludlow has done its best to provide recuperative distractions and perhaps anti-depressants will be handed out at the gates with counsellors available inside.
We should thank trainer John Joseph Hanlon and jockey Rachael Blackmore for travelling over from Ireland to bring a bit of colour to the card. Maybe some American trainers will be applying for licences here soon, along with Mexican stable staff.
Hanlon has won twice at Ludlow before, with Art Modern in 2008 and High Stratos in 2013 but it will be Blackmore's first experience of the course. If she counts the number of road crossings as she rides round, I think she'll find that there are seven and if she visits the toilet under the grandstand I think she'll discover that it's the Edwardian work of Scull Brothers of Shrewsbury. No trip to Ludlow would be complete without a visit to the toilet.
Blackmore is unique, the only female professional jump jockey in Ireland, which has produced some top class women amateur riders, including Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh, but not professionals. It would have been easy to have failed but Blackmore has already ridden 17 winners this season, including one at Cartmel in July.
Her claim now down to 5lb, Blackmore partners the so far very moderate Adarenna on the four-year-old's debut over fences (2.05) and then Linger, who has the advantage of experience over some potentially decent rivals in the juvenile hurdle (4.05).
Pour L'Amour is an unlikely winner of that race but the sight of his trainer, David Loder, at country jumps tracks still takes some getting used to. Loder, now 52, was the man who spotted Dubai Millennium's potential and trained him as a two-year-old. He was a key member of Sheikh Mohammed's team and trained 11 Group 1 winners at Europe's elite racecourses before retiring on health grounds in 2005.
Now he has found a less stressful, satisfying niche as a lower profile smaller scale jumps trainer and Ludlow is not far from Loder's yard.
As well as people, there are some interesting horses at Ludlow, not least that likeable grey stayer Moscato, a solid and reliable performer for Sir Mark Prescott, rated 94 on the Flat and now with Oliver Sherwood.
Moscato (2.35) made a promising hurdling debut at Ascot last month and will appreciate the step up in trip. If he doesn't win or go close Sherwood may well burst into tears. If he doesn't, I may do it for him.
After that, we can compare two promising amateur riders in the form of Messrs Zac Baker and James King, partnering Bring Back Charlie and Midnight Gypsy respectively in the amateur jockeys' hurdle (3.35).
King is the son of Racing Post reporter Andrew King which won't necessarily spare James should he be deemed guilty of perceived tactical errors.
It's probably simplest if he just wins.
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