Three out of four winning selections – all very well backed – on Thursday with the highlight the magnificent performance of Bay Bridge in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown. He looked a Group 1 horse to me and may indeed get further as the season progresses. He is a best price of 3/1 for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes with Coral.
Connections of Trueshan must be kicking themselves for not turning up in the Henry II Stakes as they failed to declare the stayer considering the ground to be too fast. With rain falling on watered ground it was good to soft ground, and they would have had a penalty kick. A huge mistake considering the long-range forecast is for a dry June.
We start our weekend preview at Haydock Park where conditions were given as good to soft – good in places – on Friday morning although it was expected to be dry for the rest of Friday and ahead of racing on Saturday.
In the valuable 12f handicap Forza Orta is 6lbs better off with MAHRAJAAN (2.20) on Leicester form last year when the selection finished just over a length in front of the runner up. Forza Orta ran a career best when second at York last time to the William Haggas trained Gaassee and the Newmarket handler saddles Mahrajaan this afternoon who is making his seasonal debut this afternoon.
The 4-y-old won three on the spin last year before finishing third at York over 1m 6f on soft ground. It would not surprise me if connections had the Ebor in mind for the gelding as the long-term plan and this looks an ideal starting point for a gelding who has only had five career starts and remains open to improvement. He gets the each way vote.
Recommendation: Mahrajaan EW 2.20 Haydock at 9/2 with William Hill 4 places
Sea La Rosa has been put in as the 5/2 market leader for the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes and she must have every chance for the inform Haggas, but VIOLA (2.55) is surely overpriced given her form with the market leader from last season.
Viola beat Sea La Rosa – received 12lbs – at Doncaster back in July before going down by a length – flattered by proximity – back on Town Moor in September when in receipt of 13lbs. I appreciate the each way recommendation was thrashed by the Haggas filly on polytrack over slightly further in October, but she was caught out of her ground and is taken to reward each way support for James Fanshawe.
Irish raider Climate is the highest rated filly in the field, but she is unproven over 12 furlongs and the Fanshawe mare gets the each way vote.
The drying ground is a concern for KINROSS (3.30), but he landed the John Of Gaunt Stakes 12 months ago and he is taken to follow up as long as there is a bit of juice in the ground. The selection has an excellent record fresh and has nothing to fear from Happy Power on Goodwood form back in July.
Sunray Major drops back in distance and is unbeaten in two starts at this 7f trip. He has been put in at the top of the market, but he may have to cover ground drawn out on the wing. Underfoot conditions are pivotal – granted a bit of cut Kinross will be tough to beat.
Recommendation: Kinross 3.30 Haydock at 3/1 with Bet365
The ITV cameras are also at Chester and BOARDMAN (3.45) is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Thirsk last time when he made amends for what looked an unlucky over C&D at the Chester Cup meeting at the beginning of the month.
The selection has a plum draw in stall two but cannot afford to hit the gates poorly or jockey David Allen will find himself behind a wall of horses. The selection has won two of his last three starts but is only 5lbs higher than when winning at Haydock last month.
Recommendation: Boardman 3.45 Chester at 5/2 with 10Bet
There are no prices available for the 3m 1f handicap hurdle at Cartmel, but I am going to give BRONSON IN BLUE (3.19) another chance having been given a very poor ride at Haydock last time in their valuable stayers’ handicap on the Swinton card earlier in the month.
The selection was posted eight wide throughout that three-mile trip and, in the circumstances, did well to be beaten just 15L. He is 6lbs lower in the weights this afternoon and talented conditional Peter Kavanagh takes over in the saddle. He gets the each way vote ahead of Grangeclare Glory and Coolbane Boy at what I expect to be a double-figure price.
Recommendation Bronson In Blue EW 3.19 Cartmel at 18/1 with William Hill
I am slightly surprised to see HAARAR (7.45) drop back in trip having looked a stayer ahead of his mark when winning at Windsor over an extended 1m 3f last time, but Sean Levey looks sure to make this a decent test.
Do note the selection is entered at the four-day stage at Windsor on Monday over the distance of his recent victory, bit Michael Bell must believe that he has found another good opportunity for his half-brother to decent stayer Prince Alex.
The danger looks to be Guilin who is going the other way stepping up from a mile. I like the booking of leading apprentice Harry Davies for the Sean Woods’ trained colt.
Recommendation: Haarar 7.45 Salisbury at 15/8 with Boylesports