The main race of the afternoon here at Ludlow is a Class 3 handicap hurdle run over three miles and the field contains some useful looking hurdlers.
Tjongejonge for Charlie Longsdon was deemed good enough run in the Neptune at Sandown in December but was outclassed in that race finishing seventh of eight. Last time out he was second at Bangor however that was in a three horse race and the odds on favourite that day won very easily indeed. Tjongejonge made a few bad errors at Bangor and will definitely need to cut those out if he is to have a chance here. His mark of 123 doesn't appear to bad and he has Watters on board claiming three pounds. From what I have seen from him so far though he will need to improve to figure in this race.
Colin's Brother, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, won last time out at Chepstow in what was a pretty gutsy performance. That was on heavy going there which he seems to revel in, so I am not sure he will feel quite as at home on today's firmer conditions. This is also a step up in trip from that win over five furlongs so his stamina will be tested to the full and I am not sure he will be good enough on this surface.
The horse I am really keen on here in the Philip Hobbs trained Royal Milan. He's lightly raced under rules having just the three starts so far, but all three runs have been promising culminating in a good win last time out at Catterick in similar conditions to today. That was over a furlong further so we know that his stamina will get him home and I can see Richard Johnson hitting the front early on to make this a real test for the others, knowing a few of them have question marks over they stay this distance. His opening handicap mark of 128 looks lenient to me and I don't think he will have too much trouble recording his second win here today.
Newcastle v Man City
Rafa Benitez's Newcastle had an excellent 3-0 over Swansea at the weekend and it gives them hope that they will be able to avoid the drop. Sunderland's win away to Norwich means that Newcastle are now just three points from safety with tonight's game in hand.
Man City's win at the weekend, coupled with Arsenal's inability to take the three points at home to Crystal Palace, means that City are now in third place on goal difference and have leapfrogged Arsenal. They look in fine form, buoyed by their excellent win against PSG to put them into the semi finals of the Champions League, and they will fancy their chances of continuing that run tonight. With Kevin De Bruyne back to full fitness and Sergio Aguero firing on all cyclinders, I think City will have far too much for an average Newcastle team and will be backing them on the handicap.
Ludlow 15:40 - Royal Milan - 3 points @ 6/1 (StanJames, Coral)
Newcastle v Man City - City minus one - 2 points @ 6/4 (Most firms)