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Saturday Selections

1pt each-way Llandinabo Lad in the 3.35 Ascot at 20/1 (4 Places)

1.5pt win Luttrell Lad in the 3.35 Ascot at 10/1

There are many eye-catchers in this year’s Betfair Exchange trophy with Greatwood Hurdle first and third West Cork and No Ordinary Joe, impressive Sandown Listed scorer Samarrive and Newbury Listed victor Onemorefortheroad all towards the head of the betting.

However, I want to take them on with two horses at double figure prices, the first of which is Llandinabo Lad.

Llandinabo Lad defeated subsequent three time hurdle scorer Minella Drama and Saturday’s Grade 2 International Hurdle scorer Guard Your Dreams on his hurdling debut at Bangor in October 2020 and backed that up with a four-and-a-quarter-lengths success over subsequent Aintree Grade 1 runner-up Do Your Job at Haydock the following month.

Tom Symonds’ six-year-old was sent off a 2/1 favourite for the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle next time out and was far from disgraced in placing second, beaten just two-and-three-quarter-lengths, behind subsequent Grade 1 winner My Drogo with subsequent Betfair Hurdle hero Soring Glory in third and the aforementioned No Ordinary Joe back in fourth.

That effort came over the Betfair Exchange Trophy course and distance and Llandinabo Lad conceded 5lbs to all of his rivals, making it a very solid and indeed impressive piece of form.

The Malinas gelding could only place fifth when sent off a 13/8 favourite for the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock in January and he was pulled-up when stepping-up in trip to contest the Grade 1 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in the spring, however, Tom Symonds’ horses didn’t appear to be in quite the same form post Christmas, so I am prepared to overlook those efforts.

Llandinabo Lad chased home the smart Hunters Call on his seasonal reappearance at Bangor last month and Olly Murphy’s charge gave that form a decent boost when placing third, beaten just 1 length, in the Grade 2 International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Llandinabo Lad was dropped 1lb to a mark of 140 following that effort and he is entitled to come on for the outing. The chestnut gelding underwent wind surgery during the summer and he remains open to improvement after six starts over hurdles.

The six-year-old is currently available at 20/1 and that looks fair when you factor in his form and proven ability to perform over this course and distance (also placed second ahead of Third Time Lucki and Highway One O Two in an Ascot bumper). He is worthy of each-way support.

I also want to support Luttrell Lad, who is of obvious interest on his handicap debut.

Philip Hobbs’ beat a subsequent scorer on his hurdling debut at Worcester before placing second behind his 140 rated stablemate Camprond in the Grade 2 Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow.

The Beat Hollow gelding then split Jpr One, who was narrowly denied at Cheltenham last weekend, and the well regarded I Am Maximus, who defeated My Drogo in a Cheltenham bumper last season and ran out a good winner at Newbury in Wednesday, when placing second at Exeter last month.

Luttrell Lad was conceding 7lbs the first and third at Exeter and he could easily prove better than his opening mark of 135.

Stable jockey Tom O’Brien will take the ride and Luttrell Lad will only have to carry 10-8. The dual bumper winner will be suited by the good to soft ground and has shaped as though he will be well suited by strongly run 2 miles.

More selections to follow.

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