Racing on Thursday in the UK and Ireland is scheduled to take place at Ludlow (1.15-4.45pm), Newcastle (all-weather, 1.25-4.50), Taunton (1.40-4.35), Clonmel (2.05-5.25) and Chelmsford (all-weather, 5.15-8.30).
Thursday’s nap is a chaser from Willie Mullins’s yard in Ireland who is looking to build on a second-place finish last time out to break her maiden over fences at Clonmel.
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Horse racing predictions today: Clonmel, Ludlow and Chelmsford
Connor Whitley’s Thursday predictions are below. Scroll down to read the expert analysis behind them.
Odds correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.
Horse racing predictions: Clonmel, 2.05
Hurdles winner Pont Aval has featured twice over fences so far. She was disappointing on her debut when she was pulled up at Naas (2m 4f) but that was her first appearance in 10 months, so she shaped like she needed that run. The mare was much better last month at Fairyhouse (2m 5f) when she finished second behind stablemate Instit.
Mullins’s runner featured in the Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last season at the Cheltenham Festival. She only appeared three times over hurdles, which indicates her trainer has always believed her best will come as a chaser.
This beginners’ chase will not take much winning, so if Mullins’s mare does take another step forward over fences she will be tough to beat in the opener at Clonmel with the excellent Paul Townend on board.
Selection: Pont Aval @ SP with Sky Bet
Horse racing predictions: Ludlow, 3.00
The Forbra Gold Cup, the feature race on the card at the Shropshire course, has attracted entries from some of the leading stables in the UK, including Dan Skelton’s. The Lodge Hill trainer has entered Hidden Heroics, who is seeking to complete a hat-trick of wins.
As a novice hurdler last season, the six-year-old was successful twice. In the latest campaign, he has improved considerably, winning both of his appearances over fences by large margins.
A 24-length victory at Exeter (3m) went his way on his chase debut and that was followed up by a 45-length triumph at Cheltenham last time out where he defied a 9lb rise in the ratings.
With a lack of rain across the UK at the moment, conditions are likely to be fast, but that will not be a problem for this horse, whose two victories this season have come on quick ground.
Skelton’s promising gelding will need to carry top weight in this race with a mark of 147, but he sets the standard, and he could have much more to offer over timber.
Selection: Hidden Heroics @ SP with Sky Bet
Horse racing predictions: Chelmsford, 5.50
It has been 12 months now since Meng Tian won over this 7f distance at Wolverhampton. Since then, he has fallen to this latest mark of 73, which is 6lb lower than when he prevailed.
The four-year-old has produced two good performances on his last couple of runs with blinkers on. He hit the frame when he finished third of 10 at Wolverhampton (7f) back in January, while last month at the Essex course he came home third of seven runners over 1m.
The son of Territories retains the blinkers here and has a good draw on the inside rail. With a little extra help from the handicapper from his previous outing at Chelmsford, it would be no surprise to see him in contention at the finish in this open Class 5 handicap.
Selection: Meng Tian @ SP with Sky Bet