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Ludlow Preview: Aerial can call the tune

Aerial is a fascinating contender in the 3m handicap chase at Ludlow today (14.40) having rejoined champion trainer Paul Nicholls and looks weighted to take all the beating.

The nine-year-old won of four of his 13 races under rules for Nicholls before joining Jack Barber and opening his pointing account by trotting up at Hursley Hambledon in December.

Aerial then put in an even more impressive display in the Royal Artillery Men’s Open at Larkhill, making all and drawing clear from three out to win in a canter by 10 lengths.

The gelding then found 3m 3f too far when a creditable seventh of 24 in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, before finishing runner-up last time out in a hunter chase at Exeter.

Having now rejoined Nicholls, Aerial gets into this off a mark of just 127 and that makes him look dangerously well-treated.

The son of Turgeon was rated 155 at his peak when previously under the care of Nicholls, and his runs included a cracking sixth of 18 to the classy Al Ferof in a valuable contest at Cheltenham off that mark and a solid second to Conyegree over hurdles at the same venue.

That is top class form and makes the rejuvenated Aerial look a potential handicap blot in this class 3 affair.

In the 3m handicap hurdle (15.10), Queen Spud can make the most of the weight she recieves from all her rivals to get back on the winning trail.

The six-year-old’s form took off last spring when recording back-to-back victories at Stratford and Fakenham.

In the last of those, Queen Spud made all and stayed on strongly to score by 3 1/4 lengths off a mark of 101.

The Henry Daly trained mare now gets into this off just 4lb higher, and has clearly been saved for a spring campaign having not been seen in action since finishing a highly creditable second to Cloudy Spirit at Taunton back in November.

Off bottom weight of just 10st 3lb, and with underfoot conditions to suit, Queen Spud is going to be tough to peg back if allowed her own way upfront.

Selections:

13.40: Set The Trend

14.10: Tour D’argent

14.40: Aerial (NAP)

15.10: Queen Spud (NB)

15.45: Future Security

16.15: Rockiteer

16.45: Charlie’s Oscar