Haydock Park Preview

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[Photo @lowy121]

By Lois.

 

Race one is the Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle over 1M 7F. The race only has four runners, but it doesn’t make it any less intriguing. The favourite is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ 2/2 winner in the UK, Torpillo, who is currently even money to make it 3 from 3. Torpillo has form on soft ground, which is looking to be the going for tomorrow’s meeting, so it won’t phase him at all. This will be an interesting return, and if he is as good as connections think he could be, he has the potential to obliterate this field. His main rival is the Paul Nicholls trained, Quel Destin. This horse is coming to this race off the back of 4 consecutive wins, 2 of which at Grade 2 level and one at Grade 1 level. He sets the benchmark for this race as he is already a known quantity. Betting would suggest that Quel Destin is at risk of losing his 4 race unbeaten run, as he’s 10/11 second favourite of four. The other two horses, Capone and Fanzio look to have been thrown in for the places. Both come in off a last time out win on Good to Soft ground, but neither has the form to match the market leaders.

1st Torpillo

2nd Quel Destin

 

 

The second race I want to look at is the rescheduled, Olgb.com Mares’ Hurdle over 2M 2F. This race has attracted another small field, with only 5 lining up, but it seems to be highly competitive. The market favourite is currently Laskadine at 15/8, for Nicky Henderson. This mare’s British Debut wasn’t as impressive as her 10/100 favouritism would have suggested, however, she will have come on from that run and Henderson is very keen on her. She handles the ground and should put up a good show. Her nearest rival is If You Say Run. This interesting mare has clear talent, but is being dropped back in trip, which doesn’t strike me as an obvious positive, however, the left-handed track will definitely suit her as she has been known to hang badly on the run in. Next in the market comes Jester Jet, an ever-popular mare trained by Tom Lacey. She comes here off the back of a 5-race 2nd place run. Her last race saw her finish ahead of If You Say Run, but behind Magic of Light in the Grade 2 Olgb.com Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot. She is highly versatile trip-wise so this won’t bother her, and she handles soft ground. One to watch. Mega Yeats is a 6/1 shot, coming to this race after winning an average race on her first hurdles outing last time. She handles the soft ground and is a placed horse in Listed bumper company, showing clear potential. Maybe not the winner this time, but a good horse for the future. Lastly, we have Sensulano, the outsider of the field. She was no match for the superstar, Laurina, when going head-to-head at Sandown in early January, however, she is a good quality handicapper and could have improved.

1st Laskadine

2nd Jester Jet

 

 

The William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade 2), over 3 miles, is the next big race of the day. By far the stand out horse is Yanworth, trained by Alan King. This popular chestnut’s form trumps all his rivals in this race, and he is proven to act on this surface. This gelding is a top-quality racehorse, but he’s coming back for the first time this season, raising possible fitness questions. Clyne is the next best in the market. He’s a soft/heavy ground specialist, meaning the more rain that falls, the better for him. He’s not as out of it as his last run would suggest, as he’s much better on soft/heavy ground. If the rain comes, he’s a contender. Shades of Midnight is the next horse to look at. Excluding his last race over fences, he comes here with a close second to Paisley Park under his belt. He was generally unfancied that day but came on leaps and bounds. Although, in all honesty, he would need the top two horses to under-perform to win, but he could go well. Nicky Richards’ 10-year-old gelding, Kilcooley makes his reappearance after being off since March of 2016. This return to action seems a hefty task but he could have a shout if retaining his ability from years ago. The last horse worth a mention is another mudlark, Donna’s Diamond. Last time out, he finished 3rd of 3 behind Shades of Midnight and Castletown in a novice chase, but he pulled up lame. If this horse can return to his best form from last year, he should have a chance. Seems unlikely though, due to the ground coming up drier than needed. The last two making up the field are Petticoat Tails (20/1), who is coming back to the races after a wind operation but still has a considerable amount to find to square up to the others, and Man of Plenty (50/1), who, although running creditably over close to 3 miles last time, needs to sprout wings to win.

1st Yanworth

2nd Shades of Midnight

 

 

The big race of the day is the Grade 3 Grand National Trial Handicap Chase. By nature, this 16 runner race is wide open and throws up a lot of National contenders. Ramses De Teillee is the market leader, trained by David Pipe. This horse is a Chepstow specialist who rarely wins away from the track. However, connections are positive that this Welsh National 2nd can perform tomorrow in preparation for the Aintree spectacle in April. Robinsfirth is a newcomer to the marathon trip, having been a staying on second in the Peter Marsh chase behind Wakanda who also lines up here. He could be better over the new trip. One to keep an eye on. The 3M 5F Classic Chase winner at Warwick, Impulsive Star is currently 15/2 for this race. Like Robinsfirth, he’s very unexposed at the trip, but his past performances would suggest he should get it well. He acts on the ground and has red-hot Sam Waley-Cohen on board, claiming 3lbs. Ballyoptic is the next horse in the betting at 8/1. He has not performed since being pipped at the post by Joe Farrell in the Scottish National in April of last year. He came down in the Becher Chase in December and finished a one-paced 6th of 20 in the Welsh National, behind Elegant Escape, Ramses De Teillee, Yala Enki, Rons Dream and Raz De Maree. If able to reproduce his old form, he will be up there, but it would require him to bring his A-game. Last year’s winner, Yala Enki is next up. He carries an excessive weight in this, but has been in good form this season, which could inspire a good performance here. He goes on this surface well and is a fan of the track, however, his vast weight and 4 length beating into 3rd by Ramses De Teillee last time out, does not make him the winner in my eyes. Royal Vacation proved to be back at his best last time out at Taunton when running away with the Portman Cup Chase, and if he’s back to his best, he could be a player. However, this is a first time for him at this track, which is something to bear in mind. Discounting his last run, Vieux Lion Rouge seems to have found his form again. He was 2nd behind Walk in The Mill at Aintree in the Becher Handicap Chase and is a past winner of this race in similar conditions. If he can put his last over-exuberant run behind him, he should be a player at a viable weight. Ah Littleluck is an Irish horse who is making his way over to Haydock in search of the Marathon trip. He won last time out at Navan impressively, and looks to be made for this type of race. He carries a workable weight and is averagely placed in the market. Interesting horse who is probably best watched this time. Peter Marsh winner, Wakanda, is going back up in trip again tomorrow after being successful at Grade 2 level, ahead of Robinsfirth. He likes the track and acts on the ground but is a question mark back over 3M 4F. Red Infantry is a mover from 20/1 to 12/1 in the better already. Since moving to the longer trips, Red Infantry has found a new vain of form. There may be much more to come from this animal, and trainer, Ian Williams, is very confident he’ll improve onwards. Other horses in the race include: The Two Amigos (progressive stayer who is up against it at this level), Carole’s Destrier (a winner two starts ago but disappointing at Warwick last time), Pobbles Bay (not a fluent jumper last season, but back to some sort of form over hurdles last time), Chef D’Oeuvre (in desperate need of heavy ground), Ballyarthur (not convinced he stays this far, but is talented over 3 miles) and Bishops Road (past winner of the race who PU last time out).

1st Impulsive Star

2nd Vieux Lion Rouge

 

 

The last race I want to touch on is the Grade 2, Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices Hurdle over 3 miles. Kateson is by far the form horse of this race, having been 3rd behind Champ and Getaway Trump in the 2M 4F Grade 1 Challow Hurdle. He’s highly thought of and his pedigree would suggest he can perform at this new trip (dam won over a maximum of 3m 2F). He’s 7/4 favourite. Similar to Kateson, Stoney Mountain has graded place form over 2M 4/5F but is a newcomer to the trip. He’s a useful horse who I believe will improve for this distance. Lisnagar Oscar is a relatively unexposed horse who was second to Rockpoint at his only try at 3 miles yet. His last performance doesn’t fill me with confidence that he will be competitive at this trip but is very much open to improvement. Unbeaten 2 from 2 under rules, Ask Ben is under a 3lb penalty which leaves him with more improvement to make compared with others. However, this unexposed horse is very much open to more improvement today, despite not being the likely winner. Geordie B is a horse who is also very unexposed. He was a 4-length winner last time out, and the 2nd horse went on to win after that.  He’s liked by his trainer, Venetia Williams, who is currently in good form. He could be a nice horse in time, but not the winner this time around one would assume. Rockpoint is the only graded winner in the field but was comprehensively beaten under his penalty last time out. Now back to 3 miles, he could be well on top of most of these, but he has taken a hike in the weights which decided his fate last time. The four other horses in the field range from 14/1 to 25/1, including Highland Hunter (a horse who is a course and distance 3rd and open to improvement), Truckin Away (lightly raced of yet, but has shown some promise up to 2M 4F, could improve), Star Of Lanka (depending on the trip pushing out more improvement) and Admiral Barry (novice winner, but just not good enough at Ascot last time).

1st Kateson

2nd Rockpoint

 

Good luck!

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