The ground is drying out at Haydock for the start of their three-day meeting and underfoot conditions are likely to be no worse than good for today’s seven-race card.
There is a competitive 10f handicap for three-year-olds and Side Shot has only been raised 5lbs for winning two of his last three starts including at Chester last time over an additional quarter of a mile. He must go close, but Rab Havlin is likely to be posted wide from his drawn on the wide outside and marginal preference is for Magical Land (2.10) who has been gelded since finishing fourth at Newmarket when last seen seven weeks ago.
The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – remains a maiden and obviously shows more at home than he does on the track and was sent off market leader for his first four starts. Charlie Appleby’s son of Frankel finished in front of stablemate and subsequent Royal Ascot winner Kemari last time, and he is 2lbs lower than when finishing third on his handicap debut over a mile on his penultimate start. His excellent handler perseveres with 10f, and he has a good draw in stall three.
Triple Time (2.45) shaped with considerable promise on debut when a never nearer third at Leicester over 6f and he is bred to appreciate today’s additional furlong for Roger Varian. The selection – 15/8 with 10Bet – is another son of Frankel who has an entry in the National Stakes over 7f at the Curragh later in the season. I will be disappointed if he does not run a big race with that initial experience under his belt.
Steel An Icon has won her last four for Mick Channon and has made all in the last three of those victories. She has been raised just 10lbs for those four successes and can race from the same mark as when scoring at Nottingham last time in an apprentice handicap. She is 4lbs well in this afternoon and is a worthy market leader even though she has a bit to find with Lucky Draw on Lingfield running from back in May.
I have always felt, however, there were races to be won with Flower Of Scotland (4.30) won has been dropped 1lb since finishing runner up at Wolverhampton a couple of months ago. This is only the filly’s third start on turf, and she should have the race run to suit. Trainer James Fanshawe has struck gold with two of his last five runners and I hope to see his good run continue. The ew recommendation is 5s with MansionBet.
Ice Station Zebra heads the market in the BetVictor sponsored 6f fillies’ handicap at Newbury and she must go close to defying just a 2lbs rise for her latest success at Kempton. She has a tremendous strike rate of four wins from just seven career starts but she must give a stone to Exuding (7.53) who is taken to make a winning handicap debut.
The selection – 4s with BetVictor – is no star, but she made a winning debut at Redcar and was slowly away when squeezed out at halfway at Lingfield last time when no match for the promising Adaay To Remember. Cameron Noble, who has been in the saddle for her first couple of starts, keeps the ride on a filly who looks open to significant improvement.
At Yarmouth, My Swallow (3.30) is taken to go one better than when second at Chelmsford last time. That form was given a boost when the third Inveigle dotted up here over 7f last Friday and I hope to see Ryan Moore make plenty of use of his mount as he did when making all at Sandown over 7f as a juvenile. Do note the horse he beat at the Esher track – Bullace – is now rated 106. With that in mind the selection – 9/4 with 10Bet – is potentially well treated from a mark 22lbs lower.
Sun Festival (4.05) returns from a two-month lay-off having had wind surgery since disappointing at Nottingham at the end of April. He showed distinct promise as a juvenile for Michael Bell, and he has bits of form which suggest he could be very well treated off his current mark. The ew recommendaion is 7s with William Hill.