William Buick has a fine book of rides at Haydock this afternoon including Al Suhail (3.45) in the 7f Conditions Stakes for Godolphin.
The selection was gelded following a couple of moderate efforts in Meydan at the beginning of the year prior to finishing third over a mile in a Group 2 contest at Ascot back in July. He was made favourite for the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last time and travelled like a class act before folding tamely. He will have the race run to suit with Azano likely to ensure a decent gallop. He receives 4lbs from former Group 1 winner Accidental Agent and I expect him to return to winning ways. The opening 11/10 with William Hill looked too big and he is a best price of 8/11 with 10Bet first thing on Thursday.
Living Legend is a fascinating contender in the 12f handicap in that he reappears just six days after running a tremendous race at Newmarket returning from an 841-day lay-off. The fact that he went off just 3/1 for that handicap suggested he was fit enough to do himself justice although the handicapper has seen fit to drop him a couple of pounds from the weekend. He is a prime candidate to bounce but Mark Johnston must believe he is capable of building on that promising effort.
The vote, however, goes to Without A Fight (4.55) who drops back into handicap company having failed to get home over the extended 1m 5f of the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury last time although he travelled very well for much of that Group 3 contest. The selection -7/4 with Boylesports – would not want the ground too fast, but he did win over C&D as a three-year-old and connections look to have found an excellent opportunity. Andrea Atzeni goes to Salisbury for a couple of rides, so Adam Kirby takes over in the saddle.
In the 7f maiden fillies contest at Salisbury Hamseh (2.00) is taken to score at the second time of asking having ran an excellent race on debut for Richard Hannon at Newbury over 6f on debut. The runner up was beaten 3L in a Group 3 at Goodwood last weekend and the stable’s juveniles invariably improve for their first start.
This is one of the most valuable filles’ maidens in the calendar and many powerful yards are represented but I hope to see the Shadwell filly – drawn well in stall one – confirm Newbury form with Persist who was a couple of lengths behind the selection on debut. Note Persist has been the best backed horse overnight and heads the market at 2s with the selection 9/1 at MansionBet.
Silent Flame is a progressive filly and has every chance in the 6f Lochsong Fillies’ handicap, but she is 2lbs wrong at the weights and hence 6lbs higher than when scoring under Oisin Murphy over C&D last time. She must go close, but preference is for Andrew Balding’s Quickstep Lady (3.05) who runs in the famous colours of Jeff Smith who, of course, owned the brilliant sprinter Lochsong.
The selection – 4s with William Hill – has only raced at 6f three times and has a career record of 221 at the distance. This stiff track should suit, she is only 4lbs higher than when scoring at Windsor last time and Murphy takes over in the saddle.
Both Neenee’s Choice (3.35) and Zuhair are stepping up in distance and the former can land the hat-trick for Balding whose stable have not missed a beat all season. The selection – 6/5 with 10Bet – is half-brother to four winners and there is plenty of pace on the distaff side of the family and he gave every indication he was ready for a step up in trip when rallying to get back up by just a nose over a mile at Newbury last month. A 3lbs rise is fair although he will have to improve for the step up in distance.
At Newcastle this evening I hope to see Ace Rothstein (6.35) land the extended 10f handicap under a 6lbs penalty for Michael Bell. The selection – 7/2 with MansionBet – ran well in defeat on tapeta as a juvenile over a mile, but he looked a different proposition on his first start since being gelded when running away with a Yarmouth handicap on his reappearance. The 3-y-o has been raised 10lbs for that effort so is 4lbs “well in” today although he was ridden by a 3lb claimer on his reappearance.
Third Kingdom (7.35) failed to get home over a mile here when last seen back in July and no surprise to see him drop back to 7f this evening for John & Thady Gosden. The colt is 2lbs higher tonight, but I would be very disappointed if he didn’t run a big race given he is proven on the surface, a sentiment that does not apply to market leader Billhilly although his sole run on tapeta was over 12f. He has been a revelation for Charlie Fellowes in recent weeks but tthat improvement has been on polytrack and fast ground.
There was 9/2 available on Wednesday evening for Third Kingdom which looked too big – the nap is a best price of 3/1 with 10Bet first thing Thursday.