Tag Archives: Haydock

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

Exciting Memorial Day can get off the mark tonight


5.25 Ayr: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Favourite Subserive has good form to his name but has gone up in the mark without winning. Career best is required today. Same goes for experienced Vallarta who has a poor winning record and would need to find some sudden improvement.

Most interesting is the Fahey runner Luis Vaz De Torres. Only his third start, he showed promise when winning a Wolverhampton maiden first time out last winter. Five furlongs at Chelmsford was subsequently not the right test but he finished with credit in third behind a smart winner.

Back after a break now, with strong stable form one would hope he is ready to go off a fair mark. He has been gelded since his last run and that as well as natural progression should help to squeeze out enough improvement to go close.

Luis Vaz De Torres @ 7/2 Bet365 – 5pts Win


8.15 Haydock: Maiden Stakes, 1m

Memorial Day comes off a break but should be fit to run a big race. He has been gelded since his promising debut run half a year ago. He looked pretty green and raw that day, didn’t get a clear run and finished strongly in third. He seems a big, scopey individual though,and with the step up to 1m surely to suit, this well bred gelding is a big player.

Memorial Day @ 3/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win

Lightly Raced Tamasha Can Improve Big Time


5.10 Haydock: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 4f

Satellite wasn’t too far beaten in a very tough Handicap at York the last time. He didn’t have the run of the race and can come on for it. Back up in trip, down in grade and dropped 2 pounds he’s a key contender today. That says he’s to raise his game too, given that his only win was a maiden success over a year ago and since then he hasn’t finished in the money.

Revitalized Chancery goes back to 12f and has already shown some fine form this season. He needs to be back to his very best to win off his current mark and I’m not sure if he is really up to it these days. English Summer is on a workable mark without giving the impression to be overly well handicapped. Chance on best form, but not shown anything this year so far.

The race will inevitably evolve around lightly raced filly Tamasha. She was very impressive winning a maiden at Salisbury last year and was clearly not disgraced in a hot Listed event on the Lingfield All-Weather subsequently, when she got a troubled trip due to a wide draw.

As a daughter of Sea The Stars she is likely to improve as a three year old and out of a Group 3 winning Sadler’s Wells mare she is sure to relish middle-distance trips. Race fitness and quick ground are questions marks, but if she can overcome them she is entitled to run a big race of a mark which could easily underestimate her true potential. At 4/1 I’m rather on her than against her in this field.

Tamasha @ 4/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win

Bartholomew Fair Hard To Oppose in lower grade


3.10 Haydock: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

Stoute’s Pleaidas might be better than what he has shown in two starts this year, but he becomes increasingly a frustrating sort and is one to avoid today. I did like the way Steal The Scene won over 7f the last time. He looks scopey and needed the fist seasonal outing before. But the trip is a worry today. Purple Rock may still improve and back over a mile with a career lowest mark is certainly interesting.

However the top weight Bartholomew Fair is very hard to oppose in my eyes. I missed the good prices but still think he is too big a price in this field. He was found out for class and stamina in the Derby trial at Lingfield the last time on his seasonal reappearance but one would expect him to come on for it.

Drop back to 1m will suit so should the quick ground. This extremely well bred colt won a Yarmouth maiden last year in very taking fashion and wasn’t disgraced in a subsequent Group race where he ran better than the bare result suggests as he was always wide without cover didn’t help and he didn’t handle Newmarket either.
It’s a dramatic drop in class today, he takes on potentially inferior opposition and of a mark off 90 he should have no problems to come on out on top. I liked his athletic looks, he seemed to have improved physically too, and if he can find to anything of the class he showed in his maiden win and to what his pedigree is pointing to, he’ll be hard to beat today.

Bartholomew Fair @ 3/1 Paddy Power – 10pts Win