Tag Archives: Haydock

Preview: 2019 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase


I gonna treat myself to a rare bet on a National Hunt race today. That is because the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase shapes as a wide open renewal, that offers value in the market, given there is no clear favourite, and the one that is at the top of the market right now, is certainly one the take on.

In saying that, you can hardly point to anything with a lot of confidence and say “win material”. However, Captain Redbeard is the one who looks most likely to run to his form, given he has never been out of the money at this track and was a fair runner-up in this race last year.

It’s probably fair to forgive him the latest Aintree performance, and rather judge him by his other two fine efforts this season, back in November over hurdles and fences two 3rd-place finishes subsequently.

Captain Redbeard is not incredibly well handicapped. On the other hand, with his course form in mind and the fact he does act on faster ground, he looks ready for a big run.

The other one at much bigger odds I do like here to bounce back is Three Musketeers. He’s been badly out of form and takes a big step up in trip as well. Though, on past form he could be well in at the weights, granted he stays the trip and finds back some enthusiasm.

I feel on this better ground he has a chance to be competitive over this trip; in a wide open contest it isn’t out of this world to see Three Musketeers causing an upset.

5pts win – Captain Redbeard @ 13/2 MB
5pts win – Three Musketeers @ 17/1 MB


Saturday Selections: September, 7th 2018

Leicester Racecourse home straight

4.15 Haydock: Group 1 Sprint Cup, 6f

Hard to argue against red hot favourite Harry Angel…. if he’s top fit and back to his best. That’s a big if. He’s coming back from an injury here and can easily get fired up. With ground not ideal, I feel he is vulnerable.

That says, he’s the defending champion and won this race last year in similar conditions when quite a few things were staked against him. So he’s the one they all have to beat. What I’m saying is: Harry Angel is beatable here. Certainly at short odds not one to play for me.

Plenty of better options given the odds available here. I’m siding with Jim Crowley’s mount Eqtidaar. An excellent winner of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot when getting home with a bit to spare despite hanging badly in the final furlong, he looks certainly overpriced here being harshly judged by one poor subsequent outing.

He was comprehensively beaten in the July Cup, so clearly needs to bounce back. But given he showed fine form in his two seasonal starts prior to Royal Ascot could mean Eqtidaar simply had a bad day in the office.

round conditions will be totally different to Ascot. In saying that he has shown to act with cut in the ground. A winner on good to soft and runner-up in the Group 3 Pavilion in Stakes on genuinely soft ground on his seasonal reappearance make me think Eqtidaar is going to be fine.

The draw may not be totally ideal as it may favour those wider drawn given how the race could pan out in these conditions, it’s also where the pace looks like to be. At 28/1 that’s a risk worth taking.

10pts win – Eqtidaar @ 26/1 PP/MB


4.50 Haydock: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Largely consistent top weight Gracious John hasn’t been good in his most recent race but showed multiple times this year already that he is still very competitive in this class and off this type of mark.

He’s been running to higher TS ratings than his current mark in the past and achieved twice this year alone a 93 and 95 TS rating, suggesting he’s as good as ever. Returning to sharp 5f and most importantly with cut in the ground will be a big help for this course and distance winner.

Gracious John has a 40% strike rate in 5f Handicaps, won already two times this year, including a 5f Handicap of a mark off 98 in good to soft conditions. For one who can go forward his draw looks perfect also.

10pts win – Gracious John @ 15/2 PP

Saturday Selections: July, 21st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.25 Newbury: Class 2 Handicap, 16.5f

Bottom weight Almoghared drops down into this right from an excellent performance in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot – form that has been franked by the superb winner subsequently.

Almoghared didn’t have a chance but until the final furlong marker was still right in the game. He probably isn’t quite up to that standard and doesn’t look a fast horse. So the step up to this marathon trip on handicap debut looks a good move.

The jury is out, however. His maiden win at Chepstow is worth nothing, though he was incredibly green that day and today marks only his fourth career start. Given Almoghared is superbly well bred there is every chance he can pull out more against older horses now, leveraging a handy WFA allowance.

10pts win – Almoghared @ 6/1 PP


5.50 Ripon: Class 5 Maiden Handicap, 6f

Cobalty Isle must have a cracking chance if he can find back to anything close of his best form. He’s dropped dramatically in the mark after a string of bad performances, though noteworthy he was an excellent 4th in a red hot Wolverhampton Handicap back in March of a 9lb higher mark than today.

He showed promise as as a juvenile, ran to a TS rating of 61 on debut and poses a top RPR of 78. He must go close here with conditions to suit.

That is if there isn’t anything totally wrong with him. Cheek-pieces and tongue tie applied the last time are a concern. The same headgear is on today. Nonetheless at given prices he is a cracking value bet in my book – if he can find back some form.

10pts win – Cobalty Isle @ 16/1 VC


6.30 Haydock: Novice Stakes, 7f

Line Of Duty is the obvious one here, but he is a super short price. Also an expensive yearling is Massam, though, who equally was not quite the luckiest one as Line Of Duty was on their respective debuts.

Massam showed allot of greenness at Chelmsford earlier this month after getting tied up in a battle for the early speed right after the start. He didn’t get the clearest of runs turning for home either and was hanging toward the far rail in the home straight too.

He should have learned plenty that day and has allot of scope to improve dramatically for that experience. Whether he is quite good enough to be beat the favourite remains to be seen.

10pts win – Massam @ 6/1 MB


7.30 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 10f

Things have slowed down a bit for excellent apprentice Ger O’Neill but it looks significant that he has this one ride today on veteran Save The Bees who has dropped to a tasty mark after a rather poor campaign this year so far.

However, down to a mark of 72, with conditions to suit and a visor r-fitted to sharpen him up, Save The Bees looks dangerous if he can find a bit of form. The 5lb claimed by O’Neill are worth every single pound, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ten year old gelding in the shake up tonight.

10pts win – Save The Bees @ 14/1 PP


7.45 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Competitive race where a case can be made for pretty much all of these. I feel Ralf Beckett’s gelding Raskolnikov is overpriced, though on the back of one poor effort when he had excuses last time.

Judged by his first two career starts at Bath beforehand, on the other hand, his form does not look too different from what the market leaders have achieved to date.

This son of Excelebration has nicely improved from a physical point of view since his debut and his fourth and fifth place finishes in April and May where quite good form given how those races have worked out since then.

An opening mark of 67 could underestimate his true merit now stepping up to more suitable 6f also.

10pts win – Raskolnikov @ 6/1 PP


8.30 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Sitar hasn’t been firing in a light campaign to date, however she drops to a dangerous mark 3lb lower than her last winning mark. Conditions are unlikely to pose an issue, despite her two career wins achieved with a bit of cut in the ground.

She has the assistance of red hot Ben Curtis and offers much better value than odds-on favourite Boundary Lane.

10pts win – Sitar @ 6/1 PP

Saturday Selections: Irish Champion Stakes Day 2017


1.50 Haydock: Ascendant Stakes (Listed), 1m

Some interesting contenders here; soft ground winners Dee Ex Bee and Dark Acclaim make plenty of appeal. I, however, think Godolphin’s Dubhe looks one with a massive amount of improvement to come.

He left a fair debut behind when landing a maiden in soft conditions at Sandown. While that was not a true test and he holding the advantage as the sole front-runner, the fact that he won easily going away in the end in a sprint finish, while it looks abundantly clear that he needs further sooner rather than later, was impressive.

He stays over the mile trip, which in heavy conditions with potentially a quicker pace should suit him down to the grounds to play out class and stamina.

Superbly bred, by Dubawi out of Irish Oaks winner Great Heavens, I feel he takes plenty of beating and therefore Dubhe is a tasty price.

10pts win – Dubhe @ 5/1 Bet365


5.05 Leopardstown: Group 3 Enterprise Stakes, 1m 4f

Eziyra is a fair favourite given her impressive form this season to make it back to back wins for trainer Dermot Wel. Though, Spanish Step has won a Group 3 earlier this season and has a fair shout here too.

That says stable mate and former Derby runner-up US Army Ranger is the x-factor in the race.

He drops in class and trip, and this combination should see him go very close judged on ratings. Yes, he has been a major disappointment ever since coming close to land the big prize at Epsom, however he still ran to a time speed rating of 94 when last seen, which is still the best in this field.

10pts win – US Army Ranger @ 6/1 Bet365


5.35 Leopardstown: Group 1 Matron Stakes, 1m

The class act is Winter. If all goes to plan she wins. She has a top draw and the bit of rain that may leave a bit of softness in ground won’t bother her.

In my mind she can only be beaten if the long season has left a mark on her. Then the French raider Qemah comes into the equation. Her wide draw is an issue, nonetheless she remains a big price and has a better chance.

The winner of last years Coronation Stakes had a light campaign up until now, won at Royal Ascot earlier this season and was an unlucky 4th behind Roly Poly in the Prix Rothschild when last seen.

At her best, and if she can overcome the draw disadvantage with the magic man in the saddle, she has a chance to trouble Winter.

10pts win – Qemah @ 7/1 Bet365


6.45 Leoapardstown: Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, 1m 2f

Twelve months ago it was the race of the races – something we racing fans hope for but see not enough of: the best take on the best. On the flat the best often try to avoid each other, if possible. The Irish Champion Stakes stood true to its name in 2016, though, and saw the best battle it out with the very best.

This year looked for a while a slightly underwhelming race in prospect. The stars of last year are either under performing or retired. However the week leading up to the big enjoyed a timely boost with the conformation of smart Eminent giving it a go against the almighty Churchill.

Eminent has enhanced his credentials with an impressive front-running performance in a Group 2 over 10 furlongs at Deavuille last month, after three winless efforts at the highest level. Is he quite up to the standard required to beat Churchill? We find out today.

The dual Guineas winner proved satisfactory his stamina when runner-up in the Juddmonte International. So neither ground nor trip hold any fear for the highest rated individual in this field.

He’s got the perfect draw and the help of one or two stable mates likely setting a good pace – I find it hard to look beyond him, to be honest. Yes, Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorated Night, or stable mate and Derby second Cliffs Of Moher are fine horses in their own right. But this looks all set for another Group 1 victory for Churchill.

10pts win – Churchill @ 11/10 PP

Preview – Haydock Sprint Cup

Twilight Son

3.45 Haydock: Sprint Cup (Group 1), 6f

The Sprint Cup is a wide open renewal this year, despite the fact that the last two winner give it another go. The slight ease in the ground may indeed help G Force to find back to something close of his best, but he has been so utterly disappointing this year – it’s hard to fancy him. Gordon Lord Byron is the consistent force he’s ever been. On form he is in with a very fair shout – he’ll be in the shake-up surely but hardly an attractive price.

Adaay is the obvious favourite, though. The three year old has top class form to offer and will relish the conditions. He’s the one to beat. But the most intriguing contender in this field, even more so while being slightly unappreciated in the betting, is scopey Twilight Son.

Unbeaten in four starts, albeit never tested beyond Handicap company, he has made a big impression in his two starts this season, when running out impressive successes at Newmarket and York. Obviously this here is a massive step up in class, however he looks a pattern winner in the making. He has a big, scopey frame; is progressing with each run and it’s fair to assume that we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

Twilight Son is pretty ground independent, but potentially will appreciate the drying ground at Haydock. Come race time, there might not be too much soft in the turf any more. He is drawn in five which in theory gives jockey Fergus Sweeney plenty of options.

Twilight Son @ 10/1 VC – 5pts Win

Saturday Selections: Kempton & Haydock


2.00 Haydock: Superior Mile (Group 3), 1m

I feel Fanciful Angel is underestimated in this field. The grey colt has been progressive all season, when he won a good listed event at Lingfield’s All-Weather earlier the year, went on to finish a fine runner-up in the German Guineas behind a smart winner, while not quite suited by the drop in trip at Royal Ascot, where he also didn’t encounter a clear passage but finished strongly.

Back over a mile, with the ground conditions not a big worry, he deserves a chance in a field where many have to answer questions. It’s not unlikely that he has still more to offer, and any improvement will see him go very close.

Fanciful Angel @ 11/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win


2.20 Kempton: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

With an excellent 7lb claimer in the saddle, Secret Art makes plenty of appeal in this wide open race. He was an excellent runner-up in the same event last season off the same mark, but has a kinder draw today and the weight allowance in hand, which must give him a prime chance. He has fine form this year on offer, although the last two on turf where poor showings.

Back on the Kempton All-Weather, with conditions very much to suit, he could go really close from a prominent position, possibly in an attempt to make all.

Secret Art @ 18/1 William Hill – 5pts Win


5.30 Haydock: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 6f

This marathon trip will not suit too many in this field I feel but certainly should see Galileo colt Soluble making a bit step forward. He hasn’t been exactly progressive over shorter trips, since winning a 9.5f maiden at Wolverhampton on his debut, albeit he has been ultra consistent an ran to his mark.

He usually stays on strongly in the final third of the race, once off the bridle and beaten for speed by others. This as well as his pedigree suggest he’ll appreciate the step up in trip.

Soluble @ 10/1 William Hill – 5pts Win

Penalty for Red All Star at Bellestown


Plutocracy beaten in the dying strides last night at Kempton – he had too much to do from off the pace in a slowly run affair. But no excuses. If he’d been good enough, he would have won. It’s that simple. Same applies to Pat Harkin, who was subject of massive gamble before the off. He failed to justify the support and could only manage to finish in third. Let’s hope for better today….

4.20 Haydock: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 6f

Favourite Dannyday looks extremely hard to beat here but is too short for me given there is some better value to find in this field. Not in Polarisation, though. I don’t think he’ll appreciate the trip, and quite frankly don’t think he is well handicapped.

The unknown quantity in this field is the Makfi filly Quest For Wonder. You can’t really judge her on the recent 11 lengths romp at Brighton against much inferior opposition. Though I liked her enthusiasm and the way she galloped all the way to the line. That is a good indication for her ability to stay further. If you do the job so easily over 12f on soft ground at stiff Brighton you’re almost sure to stay further.

There is plenty of stamina on her dam side as well to support this case, less so on her sire side. The quick ground is a big difference today – but Makfi won the Guineas on quick ground and on the dam line is plenty of fast ground form to find either.

Quest For Wonder is a progressive individual, who could have still more to offer and may be able to overcome a massive 10lb hike in the ratings. She is potentially underestimated here.

Quest For Wonder @ 9/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win


6.25 Tipperary: Handicap (4YO plus), 5f

Patrick Martin’s Red All Star is still unexposed over five furlongs and seems to have found an ideal opportunity to score. The five year old should appreciate the drop in trip given that he has loads of pace but didn’t quite see out 7f in the past. Most notably at Naas one week ago.

He showed good gate speed that day, but was keen all the way while tracking the lead. Turning for home he went to the front, travelling like the winner until approaching the final furlong marker where he tired badly and got caught. He can race off the same mark today, a career lowest rating, which could slightly underestimate his true potential. Particularly in a field with mostly exposed sorts going to post.

There are no excuses here today, he’s the best handicapped horse, can race off a feather weight, should appreciate the conditions and has a top jockey in the saddle. Banker material.

Red All Star @ 5/2 Paddy Power – 10pts Win


7.15 Bellestown: Handicap (60-90), 1m 6f

I was keen on Sherlock Holmes the last time when he got off the mark in a decent maiden at Ballinrobe. This lightly raced Galileo son improved well from his debut run at the Curragh and despite not suited by the sharp turns of the track, he finished the job in good style.

This big, leggy & scopey colt is wonderfully bred and will appreciate the additional furlong today. He is a relentless galloper and the Bellestown track is not quite as sharp as Ballinrobe and should suit him better. Given the huge weight advantage he has here due to the WFA allowance, he’s expected to improve again and win this today.

Sherlock Holmes @ 5/4 Paddy Power – 10pts Win