A terrific 10-race card at Haydock Park today to be run on ground described as good to soft on Tuesday morning but likely to be no worse than good come post time with a warm sunny day forecast.
The opening 10f Novice event looks a match between a couple of highly regarded three-year-olds including the unbeaten Highest Ground (1.10) who went into many notebooks when scoring over 7f on debut at Leicester back in September having lost many lengths at the start.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute the son of Frankel was touted as a serious Derby contender for much of winter quarters and he remains a best priced 33/1 for Epsom a race which takes place on Saturday week. Stoute never rushes his inmates and I think Highest Ground would have to win and win well today if he is to line up in the colts’ classic. I am sligfhtly surprised he is as big as 2/1 with the Stoute yard in such good form although I appreciate he is making his seasonal reappearance.
No Dettori at Haydock today so Waldkonig will be ridden by Robert Havlin who was in the plate when the colt landed a Wolverhampton maiden back in December. That performance got the clock-watchers purring, not the overall time but his last quarter of a mile was covered in the manner of a top-class horse.
It was disappointing, therefore, to see him so easily brushed aside at Newmarket in a listed contest over this distance on Guineas weekend. He never appeared happy at HQ on what was fast ground and could easily bounce back but it is Highest Ground for me in this midweek treat.
The Mile Handicap for 3-y-olds is ultra-competitive, but I thought the filly Angel Power (3.40) was well on top at Chelmsford on her reappearance and the hope is that she can build on that performance back on turf. Silvestre De Sousa keeps the ride for Roger Varian who had such a wonderful Royal Ascot. The 5/1 with bet 365 is fair.
The form of High Flying Bird’s third over C&D earlier in the month was given a boost when the winner – Finest Sound – ran such a good race at Royal Ascot but the Tom Dascombe trained filly has yet to prove she wants a mile and 7f may be her optimum trip.
Sovereign Grant (4.10) had not run for over 600 days prior to his reappearance at Chelmsford when he was keen early in the race and did not appear to appreciate the kickback from the all-weather surface. The fact that he went off odds on for his return suggests he had been working well at home and I hope he can get his season back on track this afternoon. The 9/4 on Monday afternoon didnt last long and he is into 7/4.
That run was over 7f and he ought to appreciate the step up to a mile given he is by champion miler Kingman and there is plenty of stamina on the dam’s side. The smell of burnt fingers wafted across Essex earlier in the month, but I believe the only way is up for Her Majesty’s four-year-old colt. If not, it could be a case of “off with his …” You get the gist.
King’s Charisma was very impressive at Redcar on Sunday and he looks sure to run a big race if over those exertions carrying just a 6lbs penalty although he steps up in trip by a quarter of a mile today.
My Girl Maggie (5.20) was just touched off over today’s trip at Pontefract last week and that form has already been franked by the winner – Revolver – who won with any amount in hand also on Teesside on Sunday.
The selection has been raised 7lbs for that effort, but can run from her old mark this afternoon, and today’s easier track should suit given she was on top for all bar the last few strides in west Yorkshire. The 3/1 early with bet 365 was wrong and she is now 7/4 market leader.
Windsor stage their second card of the week and I like the booking of Oisin Murphy for Lady Reset (7.25) who has her first start for David Pipe in the 10f handicap. The filly won twice in a light campaign for David Evans and was finishing well when runner up in a Wolverhampton claimer over an extended mile when last seen back in March. She was cut from 11/2 to 5/1 on Tuesday evening.