Another ten-race card at Haydock to look forward to this afternoon. Celsius has won five of his seven races since being gelded for Tom Clover but all those successes have come over the minimum trip and he has been raised another 6lbs for his win here earlier in the month. He shapes as though the step up to 6f will suit, but this is another step up in class and Staxton (1.45) is two from two at the track and the handicapper has certainly given him a chance dropping him another 3lbs following his seasonal reappearance.
The selection pulled too hard on that occasion at Newmarket, but that run should have blown the cobwebs away and he is 5lbs lower than his last winning mark. I’m surprised Motagally has stayed on his mark of 90 as he ran an excellent race when runner up over 5f at HQ on his reappearance – the return to 6f will suit – but Staxton, 9/1 with bet365, gets the each way vote for Tim Easterby.
I hope the drop back to 10f can finally see Competition (4.15) get his head in front having just his second start for Michael Appleby having won twice over timber previously for Dr Richard Newland. The selection – 3/1 at bet365 – pulled hard and was forced to cover ground when third over a mile-and-a-half at Wolverhampton. He is 0-10 on the level but he is rated 121 over hurdles and it would be a surprise if the talented Appleby were not able to get a win on the level out of the eight-year-old.
Dreamweaver (5.20) disappointed at Kempton on his reappearance, but he may have needed the run and the winner – Palavecino – has subsequently franked the form when again making all back at the Sunbury track. Ed Walker’s four-year-old won over 10f here last term but showed he stays today’s 12f trip when scoring at Newcastle from a 4lbs lower mark back in July. Oisin Murphy returns to the saddle and he will appreciate the drying ground. The selection was put in at 7/2 on Wednesday but that prices has contracted – also Rule 4 – and he is now a best price 13/8 with Boylesports.
At Leicester this evening King Fairy was left behind in the final furlong over a mile at Newbury on debut and, as a son of Derby winner Australia, looks sure to appreciate the step up in trip at Leicester this evening. He will soon be shedding his maiden tag but Wise Glory (7.55) looked a sure-fire future winner when just touched off by Roger Varian’s Valyrian Steel at Newcastle at the beginning of the month. The form hasn’t worked out too well, but the winner is well regarded, and Wise Glory galloped all the way to the line at Gosforth Park. Adam Kirby takes the mount on the best priced 5/4 shot with William Hill.
Sir Mark Prescott has managed to get a mark of 54 for the handicap debut of Theheartneverlies (8.55) as a result of the horse beating just four rivals in three starts over an inadequate 6f back in the autumn. The selection – well supported into 6/4 with William Hill – has been gelded in the interim period and is bred to be much smarter than his opening mark now asked to race over a more realistic trip – half-brother to a 1m 5f winner and out of a 100+ rated mare who stayed a-mile-and-a-half. He looks the sort who might run up a sequence for the yard.
At Fairyhouse Hosier finished in front of Alghazaal (1.30) at Leopardstown when they both made their racecourse debut, but I think the Kevin Prendergast trained colt can reverse the form. The selection – 4/1 with bet365 – was slowly away and forced to cover ground earlier in the month while Hosier lobbed along on the rail and may need slightly further in time. Prendergast has yet to have a winner since racing restarted in Ireland, but he has had three seconds and I hope Alghazaal can get him back in the winner’s enclosure.