Soft ground forecast for Haydock Park – today’s feature nine-race card. In the opener King’s Charisma carries a 6lbs penalty for scoring at Redcar last week, but that is largely negated by the 5lbs claim of apprentice Sean Kinane. David O’Meara’s three-year-old has been raised 10lbs for that Redcar success but it was gained on good ground and he is not guaranteed to be as effective on soft ground.

Swift Verdict (12.00) is bred to be smart – by Dubawi out of the Irish 1000 Guineas winner Just The Judge – and I’m not convinced he got home over 12f at Doncaster on his turf debut. John Gosden’s colt cost connections £1.4m as a yearling and it will be disappointing if he cannot get competitive off an opening mark of 69.

The form of Esprit Rose’s (1.00) Leicester win was let down by the moderate showing of the runner up Donnybrook at Newmarket last weekend but I feel there is much more to come from Roger Varian’s filly after just three career starts. A mark of 77 is unlikely to be her ceiling and soft ground holds no terrors. The ew selection is 11/2 with William Hill who are betting 4 places.

The 3-y-old 12f handicap is a terrific race with many of the top yards involved. I am convinced My Girl Maggie was feeling the effects of her third quick run when readily brushed aside by Dancing Approach here last week but it was difficult not to be impressed with the winner whose 6lbs penalty is halved with the claim of Thomas Greatrex.

Red Missile is interesting on handicap debut, but I thought Finely Tuned (4.00) shaped with considerable promise at Kempton on his handicap debut when he would in all probability finished second without meeting interference. Jason Watson, who rode Dancing Approach last time, keeps the ride and he ran very well on soft ground at Nottingham as a juvenile. The selection is 10/3 with Boylesports.

Molinari – who doesn’t stay 12f – helped set the race up perfectly for Thai Power (8.30) at Kempton last month and I am sweet on his chances of following up under a 6lbs penalty in the finale at Wolverhampton this evening. That success was gained at 8.55 so we know Thai Power runs well at night! Seriously there is no reason to think he won’t be as effective on tapeta as he is on polytrack and he would be 2lbs higher in the weights if this race were run tomorrow. He is 15/8 with William Hill.

Sir Michael Stoute’s top-weight Galata Bridge looks the obvious danger on his handicap debut, and he suggested that this trip would bring about more improvement when staying on into second at Newbury on his reappearance.

Le Chiffre (5.50) ran out a smooth winner at Beverley on his reappearance and looked to be well ahead of the handicapper having his first start since being gelded. He carries a 6lbs penalty for that near 4L success at Hamilton on softer ground but may well be good enough to give weight and a beating to his nine rivals. He is another who would be carrying 2lbs more if this race were run 24 hours later and is priced at 13/8 with William Hill..    

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