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The second day of Haydock’s three day Sprint Cup fixture, and at last we have some decent sized fields in which to wager. Of course, every silver lining has a cloud and, in this case, it’s a literal one, with rain threatening to ease the ground… but how much is a cause of some speculation. I’m working on the basis that the current good to firm will be goodish this afternoon and certainly no worse than good to soft.
2.00 – Leg 1: All fourteen are currently still engaged in the opening five furlong handicap, and the pace looks to be with the high numbers, with old boy, Moorhouse Lad, likely to blast away. Not far behind him should be the likes of Senator Bong and Diman Waters, and close by these I expect Rusty Rocket, Whitecrest, and Triple Dream to be in the vanguard.
Rusty Rocket has top weight today, and his record in this grade is strong: five wins and two places from thirteen starts. Importantly today, he goes on any ground from good through to soft. His record over five furlongs in Class 4 handicaps reads 1137013. The 0 was on good to firm so any easing is clearly needed, and I think he’ll get it. The 10/1 looks cracking each way value.
Others to consider are Senator Bong, Imperial Legend and Mayoman, but I think Rusty Rocket is a fair bet.
A – 1 (Rusty Rocket), 12 (Senator Bong)
B – 2 (Mayoman), 5 (Imperial Legend)
2.30 – Leg 2: Merletta is a standout form pick here, and I think she really should be in the first two. The only conceivable form book danger is Coral Mist, who ran with real promise on her sole start, that on good to soft. But Merletta was fourth in a Group 2, beaten just a couple of lengths by Lucky Kristale, and that looks extremely strong in the context of a race like this.
A – 4 (Merletta)
3.00 – Leg 3: A six furlong sprint handicap now, and Bop It looks interesting. David O’Meara’s charge has conditions in his favour and the only negative from my perspective is that, as a hold up sort, he will need luck in running. 9/2 doesn’t really offer too much scope in that regard so, while he’s a solid placepot choice, I wouldn’t want to win wager him, and am happy to let him beat me if the splits do open up.
Lionheart is interesting for Luca Cumani and Ryan Moore, but he might just be poorly named, as his win and placed form has come in small fields. I’m not sure he’ll enjoy the dozen runners here and he’s tentatively overlooked, despite the likelihood of a prominent racing position.
Klynch is the one to catch my eye. Another for whom a slight easing is a positive, this old boy has twelve wins to his name, most of them on good or softer, and nine of them at today’s six furlong trip, including one here at Haydock. He’s down to a mark of 83 now, having won off 87 back in May. This is his first run back in Class 4 since, with the six intervening races having been at Class 2 or 3, and he’s sure to appreciate the ease in grade.
Beau Mistral could get an easy lead, but I’m not at all sure he’ll be happy about any softening under hoof. And top weight Al Khan is not without hope. Mon Brav’s form in Class 4 six furlong handicaps this year reads 3132, and that’s placepot material.
A – 3 (Klynch), 6 (Mon Brav), 7 (Bop It)
B – 1 (Al Khan), 12 (Beau Mistral)
3.30 – Leg 4: The second division of the same handicap, so it’s Class 4 and six poles again. Ruth Carr, who saddles Klynch in the first division, could double up here courtesy of Hadaj, a typically hardened sprinter from the stable. His form at today’s grade and trip reads 2723621. That was on all types of going, and the 6 and 7 were recorded at Kempton and Goodwood, both of which are forgivable due to track constitution. He has the early speed to lead or be prominent, and he ought to give us a run.
Ashpan Sam has been most consistent this term, and Angelito and Light From Mars are proven in today’s context.
A – 1 (Ashpan Sam), 5 (Hadaj)
B – 3 (Light From Mars), 7 (Angelito)
4.00 – Leg 5: This this ten furlong Class 3 handicap looks absolutely wide open, and pace could be key. Love Marmalade is quite a big price, considering he has plenty of form at the trip and was a winner in this class last time. Moreover, he looks likely to lead, and with the only known danger on the front being non-runner, Croquembouche, he should get his own way.
Gworn heads the market, and this son of Aussie Rules is stepping up in trip beyond a mile for the first time. He’s a hold up horse generally, and he’s not really bred to see this out – mum was an unraced daughter of Mark Of Esteem, also a miler – so 5/1 is short in my book, and I’m looking elsewhere.
Anomaly looks much stronger. From the in form Charlie Appleby yard, and a prominent racer who was good enough to be fourth in a strong Royal Ascot handicap two runs back, Anomaly will stay further than this and respond to being able to make a print in the turf.
Mujazif and Double Discount are other dangers in a super-competitive handicap.
A – 3 (Anomaly), 12 (Love Marmalade)
B – 7 (Mujazif), 8 (Double Discount)
4.30 – Leg 6: We have yet another competitive sprint handicap – seven furlongs this time – to finish the placepot, and two at the bottom of the handicap look likely lads. Green Howard is a five time winner at this trip, though never in such elevated grade. However, he was placed twice in Class 3 7f handicaps last summer.
Ready has won at this level, as recently as five weeks ago, and over this trip. He’ll prefer it quick, but can handle decent ground just fine. Slightly unfortunately (ahem), the amateur rider on board that day rode him so far clear – seven lengths! – that he got whacked with an eleven pound penalty. That has made life much tougher, but he’s still in here on a low weight, and might be able to get in the mix.
However, both have it to do to catch Big Johnny D. David Barron’s lad is on the hat-trick here and is probably the lone pace angle too at a track/trip where early leaders do very well. Another that has been wolloped by the ‘capper for that double score, he nevertheless comes here fresh and well and as a possible major improver.
He’s my second placepot banker, mindful that I can place lay him on Betfair to cover expenses.
A – 3 (Big Johnny D)
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