1.10pm Ludlow – ST SAVIOUR, 4pts win at 4/5
Back on the 4th of January, ex-flat winner for Andrew Balding ST SAVIOUR made his debut for Philip Hobbs and was well backed through the morning to win his opening race over hurdles at Ludlow. He did so, by no less than twenty one lengths, and gave Richard Johnson his 3000th career victory in the process.
St Saviour returns to Ludlow in Wednesday’s 1.10pm Openbet Juvenile Hurdle and can follow up for Hobbs, Johnson and owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing under a 7lb penalty and prove himself to be a fair bit above average.
When it comes to flat horses transferring to hurdles, especially ones who were operational over a mile or so on the level, the one concern a trainer or owner might have is will the horse be able to stay over two miles or more over jumps? Well St Saviour had the speed to win over ten furlongs and proved that he easily has the stamina for two miles here last time out. He also displayed a clear enjoyment and aptitude for jumping obstacles, as he was fluent over the hurdles in the main, apart from a few sketchy but acceptable errors. All three horses he thrashed had the benefit of experience and fitness, but it made no difference as when Johnson asked him to pick up, he responded really nicely, handling the heavy ground very well indeed.
In opposition is John Ferguson’s Berland, who was also useful on the flat and won over hurdles at Catterick. He looked one paced behind Gibralfaro at Kempton next time out though and could be vulnerable again here. Harry Fry runs a fairly interesting new recruit calledBrotherly Company, so that’s a horse worth keeping an eye on, while Nick Williams’ Me Voila is also respected for a stable that does very well with juveniles historically.
The race is set up splendidly for St Saviour however, who can follow up here and perhaps justify a trip to the Cheltenham Festival in March for something like the Fred Winter, or maybe even the Triumph Hurdle. He has this race to overcome first of course, but he should prove up to the task.
1.10pm Ludlow – ST SAVIOUR, 4pts win at 4/5 (1.8) William Hill
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