Good morning all,
Drying ground likely at Ascot but it still looks hard going at Haydock, based on what we’ve seen over the past couple of days, and even if it does dry a little more it’ll be soft going at best.
I’m no fan of Haydock and the fact we race on a different track today (the stands side track is in use, as opposed to the inside that’s been used for the last two days) means any perceived draw/track biases could be out of the window, but it does have some of the more interesting races which have to be worth a look. Along with Ascot, where there are some near-impossible handicaps.
Haydock 2.50 – Old Borough Cup
Those looking for something to trade in running probably need look no further than Brandon Castle, who slipped his field at Newmarket when last on the Flat and traded odds-on before fading out of things as he got tired. With just 8-8 on his back he’s going to think he’s been let loose here and it isn’t hard to see what the tactics are going to be. Since that run on the Flat he’s won a couple of good handicap hurdles at Market Rasen and has improved a bit. He’s not thrown in by any means, but he won’t mind the ground and goes well for a female rider, so the fact Hollie Doyle takes the ride is hardly a bad thing either.
Euchan Glen was fully tuned up for the Ebor and duly ran a good race, finishing fifth. It’s worth remembering how well he travelled here on soft ground in early July when not fully fit; I’d suggest that won’t be the case here and I’d expect him to last out a lot longer today.
Haydock 3.25 – Sprint Cup
I’m not giving up on Golden Horde, who will be a lot happier back at a basic 6f rather than the 6½f of the Maurice De Gheest, where the extra 110yds clearly stretched him. To that point he held every chance, and to me he has retained his Golden Jubilee form very well. I expect him to reverse the form with those that finished in front of him and in the hope his middle draw is where you want to be, I’ll give him another chance.
Dream Of Dreams is obvious enough but I’m not convinced that either the drop back to 6f or indeed genuinely soft ground is what he wants. Yes, he handles some cut but it was only good to soft and no worse at Newbury, and this ground is likely to ride a lot slower. Well held in this last year, although I’ll happily concede not everything went right for him that day.
If there’s one to outrun their big odds it might be Summerghand. He’s probably best known for his exploits in big-field handicaps but he’s not that far behind on the figures, has improved this season and has form on soft, including at Newmarket last time where the small field was probably not in his favour. He remains in good form and I’d not be surprised if he went well here.
3.05 Ascot – Lavazza Handicap (1m4f)
I like the each-way chances of Noble Masquerade here. I thought it interesting that Eve Johnson-Houghton went for the third run in a maiden when a handicap was an available option to the horse at that point, so I’m guessing she simply thought he needed a bit more experience before being launched into handicaps. Anyway, he ran well at Newbury, staying on late for fourth behind Coconut, but is a whopping 13lb better off for 5l with that one here. Drawn fine in stall 9 and with the likely ground ideal, he clearly stays well and I expect him to take another step forward here.
4.15 Ascot – Porsche Handicap (7f)
I’m still smarting a bit over Blue Mist, who I had a decent bet on at Royal Ascot only to get a horror show of a ride from Jason Watson, but Ryan Moore showed what he could do when winning easily on him here last time. Potentially slower ground and a less favourable draw make life harder for him here, but only a fool would discount him from a 6lb higher mark.
Raising Sand could do with a bit more rain but he ran well in the Hunt Cup, winning his small group that were drawn low and a fast-run 7f is very much his thing. Stall 10 is probably just about okay and for those wanting something solid each-way with the extra places, Raising Sand looks sure to be thereabouts.
I’m quite interested in Willie John, who in truth has been a bit disappointing but seemed to improve for having his kahoonas off at Goodwood last time, finishing a close fourth in the Unibet Mile and could be spotted travelling like a dream two furlongs out there. Another drop back in trip here, so you’re guessing a little as to whether this is what he wants, but if he travels that well again he’ll surely give himself a chance. Risky, particularly as two previous efforts at Ascot have been nothing short of awful, but it might just be he’s a different, more tractable horse now.
Today’s selection – Golden Horde 3.25 Haydock
Good luck with all your bets today,