The feature race of the weekend is the Group 1 Haydock Park sprint, and it is hard to get away from July Cup winner Starman (3.30) who will relish the forecast fast ground – Al Suhail broke the track record for 7f at the track on Thursday – and can confirm his position as the champion 6f sprinter in Europe although I would have favoured French filly Suesa had she made the starter this afternoon. The selection is 10/11 with 10Bet at the time of posting.
Starman found the combination of an additional half a furlong on tacky ground – but not soft as per the official description – too much when fading close home into third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last month. Ed Walker has campaigned his star filly Primo Bacio poorly this season and I hope he hasn’t left this Group 1 in France. After just three starts this term, he should be fresher than most and his fluent July Cup success is by some way the bet form on offer. Chil Chil would be my alternative without the market leader.
In the opener Power Of Beauty has the best form in the book having finished runner up in a listed contest at Salisbury last time. The winner was trained by Charlie Appleby, however, and he saddles the Newmarket debut winner Hafit. That form has been franked by the fluent successes of the second and third and he is the one to beat, but I do believe Triple Time (1.15) is overpriced and the Kevin Ryan juvenile gets the nod.
The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – will get 12f next year, but this extended mile is a fair test for a two-year-old and I was impressed with his C&D success last time albeit against inferior opposition on soft ground. I think he is an exciting prospect. Note the three main protagonists hold an entry in the Gp 2 Royal Lodge over this trip in three weeks time.
Lord Glitters is a short price for the Group 3 Mile and escapes a penalty by three weeks for winning a Group 1 in Meydan at the beginning of March. He ran a very good race conceding weight all round when second at York last time although he never looked like winning and this easy mile on fast ground is not ideal.
My Oberon finished behind Lord Glitters at York and is 7lbs worse off at the weights. William Haggas fits blinkers to his 4-y-old for the first time, but I hope to see Joe Fanning dictate his own fractions aboard Maydanny (1.45) and make every yard of the running. This represents a step up in grade for the 5-y-old, he would prefer more juice in the ground and wasn’t at his very best last time, but he gets a narrow vote in a race that won’t take much winning. The selection is 7/2 with MansionBet.
Valley Forge (2.20) only scrambled home in the Melrose at York last time from a 7lbs lower mark but he travelled through the race like a class act, and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t run another big race although that big effort was just two weeks ago. If over those exertions I don’t think a 7lbs rise will prevent him following up. The 15/8 with MansionBet is fair.
Clive Cox has several fancied runners today including Mines A Double (5.30) who puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Ascot finale on his handicap debut. The selection – 15/8 with 10Bet – has won two minor events at Leicester but is a big imposing three-year-old who is likely to have more to offer next term. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle with Adam Kirby riding Supremacy at Haydock.
At Thirsk I hope to see Baby Alya (4.35) drops back in trip to 7f having struggled to get home over a mile in his recent start for Kevin Ryan. Only seven go to post for the valuable fillies’ handicap but it is full of progressive types, and all can be given a realistic chance. I do think at 8/1 ew for the selection with Boylesports – who is well drawn in stall three – might be a shade too big with Kevin Stott taking over in the saddle.
At Stratford I am keen on the chance of Licklighter (3.05) in the extended 2m 6f handicap chase. The selection – 2s with William Hill – didn’t get home over further at Cartmel last time, but he has been a revelation since coming across from Ireland and is a testimony to the training skills of Laura Morgan