Ludlow is a historical market town in South Shropshire. It is situated on the A49 roughly halfway between Shrewsbury and Hereford. There is a lot of history here and the town allegedly has almost 500 listed buildings some of which date back to medieval times. The castle was built as one of several along the Welsh Marches to defend the border. The town played a role in conflicts including the War of The Roses and the English Civil War.
Ludlow is a ‘foodie’ town with more than it’s fair share of good restaurants. Most of the bars serve very good fare too and from personal experience, I will vouch for them!
The proximity of Ludlow to the A49 makes travelling north or south of the town quite straightforward, roadworks permitting.
There are a number of places of interest in Ludlow and nearby:
Ludlow Racecourse hosts only National Hunt Racing.
Ludlow is a sharp right-handed, oval circuit of about a mile and a half. The chase course flat with sharp bends. There are nine fences on a circuit including a water jump in front of the stands. The hurdles track is about 150 yards longer than the chase track, is slightly undulating, with slightly easier bends.
Clerk of the course: Simon Sherwood
Course telephone number: 01584 856221
Ludlow is just 157 miles from Central London, 60 miles from Birmingham, 98 miles from Bristol, 84 miles from Cardiff, 108 miles from Manchester and 303 miles from Edinburgh.
The racecourse is situated about 2 miles north west of town off A49 Shrewsbury road.
The course post code is SY8 2BT.
Course parking is free and is in the centre of the course.
The nearest railway station is Ludlow which is about 2 miles away. There is a courtesy bus from and back to the station. Specific times are posted on the racecourse website. The rail services run from Manchester to South Wales and usually include Crewe, Shrewsbury, Hereford, Newport and Cardiff. There are convenient changing points for services to Birmingham and London.
There are three enclosures at Ludlow, The Members Enclosure, Grandstand & Paddock and The Course Enclosure. The dress code is quite relaxed though the website does stipulate a couple of dress types that cannot be worn in The Members Enclosure.
You can get some magnificent views from the rooftop of the grandstands and it’s really worth a look.
Theres not as much by way of bars and eateries as you get on many course but, don’t get me wrong, there is plenty. The Members Enclosure is well served by The Clive Pavilion and there is a Cafeteria and bar in the grandstand enclosure too. The centre course has a bar and (today) had a couple of burger/fast food vans which also serve hot drinks etc.
It was nice to just drive 15 minutes to one of my local tracks for a change. I have come here lots over the years and used to come up from London from time to time just to enjoy the charm of the town and the beauty of the racecourse. The countryside view at the racecourse is as good as any at racecourse I have visited and better than most. Until about five years ago I lived in Ludlow so used to come here quite a bit.
I took an interest in three horses today but just backed two.
In the opening race, a class 4 Novice Hurdle over two miles, my eye was drawn to the Phillip Hobbs trained That’s A Given ridden by the champion jockey Richard Johnson. He had won his debut, a bumper, at Huntingdon very well indeed and had subsequently finished down the field in a better bumper at the Punchestown Festival. If his jumping stood up, he really should be beating this field. I noticed that he had also drawn the attention of my buddy @genuinetriers on twitter. However at around even money, I thought he was a little short for a horse that had never jumped a hurdle in public (6/4 + would have tempted me) and I swerved this one. As it turned out, he was beaten about two and a half lengths, not having jumped particularly fluently and also having jumped left at a couple in the straight and including the last. I wouldn’t give up on him, I reckon there’s a race or two in him if his jumping become slicker.
I did however take an interest in Richard Johnsons mount in the next, a class 4 Handicap Chase over 3 miles. Whin Park, trained by Ben Pauling, had finished 3rd last time out, in a class 4 Novice Chase at Huntingdon back in May when amateur ridden. Prior to that, he had finished 2nd and the won a couple on point races when returning briefly to that sphere. It was easy enough to pick holes in the form of his rivals today and now ridden by the Champion Jockey, he was a confident bet at 2/1 (returned 6/4). My confidence was rewarded as he made most and despite making the odd mistake and jumping left, he travelled well in front and won by two and a quarter lengths. I think he may improve and can probably win a similar type of race next time and will keep an eye out for him.
My final interest today was in the Tom George trained Cernunnos in a class 4 Handicap Chase over two and a half miles. I’m not convinced that this horse actually puts it all in these days though did seem to run quite well when finishing 2nd at Uttoxeter last time out. He had in fact won just over a year ago off a mark 13lb higher than today and in this small field he looked worth a bet. This time confidence wasn’t rewarded. He followed the leaders in 4th (of 4) and in touch and went third two out and that was the end of his effort unfortunately. He won’t carry my money again I reckon.
But a little profit made again today and this remarkable winning run on course continues. Pity, I’m not quite as successful off course or I’d be doing this for a living.
Weather permitting, I shall go to Aintree on Sunday!