Cotton Mill may be making his first start over 2m in The Ladbroke at Ascot, but assuming he has the speed to be a factor over the trip, he looks well handicapped to run a big race.
The Ladbroke tends to be a bit of a nightmare for punters given that it is full of unexposed hurdlers, many of which look open to copious amounts of improvement.
Many of the horses towards the foot of the weights fit into this category, but the same could be argued of the higher-rated Cotton Mill at 12/1.
Cotton Mill’s best form has been over 2m4f and he was the only horse likely to throw down a challenge to Simonsig in the Neptune at the last Cheltenham Festival before running out with two hurdles remaining.
He then went to Aintree for a Grade One and stepped up to 3m, but despite running credibly, he was found lacking in stamina in the late stages and finished third.
Cotton Mill has been dropped 2lb by the handicapper for this defeat and more of a speed test definitely looks a wiser decision than another crack at 3m, especially given the recent rain.
John Ferguson’s runner also fits some key criteria that have been common among winners of The Ladbroke in the last decade.
Six of the last nine winners have been aged five and interestingly there has been no four-year-old winner in this time, which is a big minus in the boxes of favourites Balder Succes, Ranjaan and Lyvius.
Horses carrying more than 10st9lb have triumphed in seven of the last nine runnings and Cotton Mill runs of a nice 11st2lb, as long as top weight Petit Robin lines up.
Furthermore, horses to finish in the last three on their final start should be kept on side and two-thirds of the last nine winners were sent off between 7/1 and 14/1.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date