Race Time: 1.45pm Meeting: Haydock Distance: 1m 2f 95yds
Full Race Name: bet365 Handicap (Class 3)
Three-year-old only handicaps are usually bookies benefits, with some horses improving dramatically from two to three, others going backwards, and us punters trying to guess which is which! This race looks likely to be full to the brim with potential improvers headed perhaps by the Sir Michael Stoute trained Hakka (2/1), an interesting contender for this valuable prize. Two races at Wolverhampton make him very difficult to gauge, though he clearly has some abilities having finished runner-up on his debut, and then winning his maiden last time out. Whether his handicap mark is good or bad, is a question we will only be able to answer after the race is over, but he is a well bred and good-looking colt, who may well have got in under the handicapper’s radar, and depending on prices could be a tempter come race time?
With most of the early declarations side stepping the race for whatever reason the one with the most chance now ought to be Charlie Appleby’s Subcontinent (9/2) who has already won three races this season at Wolverhampton, Doncaster, and Windsor. As you would expect, the handicapper hasn’t been too kind to the son of Dubawi who has gone up in the weights by twelve pounds including the extra coupe they have added since he finished runner up to Exosphere when last seen at Doncaster but with trip and going ideal and so few opponents we are hoping he reverts to his front running tactics which may well mean William Buick can set his own fractions and take the race by the scruff of the neck.
Jumeriah Glory (7/2) won last time out over course and distance which has to make him interesting, though he was flat out for a short head victory and has been put up a ridiculous ten pounds which really ought to be enough to stop a repeat win, though he is trained by Richard Fahey so all things are possible, but Tony Hamilton replaced Paul Hanagan and we are not sure that can be seen as an improvement (sorry Tony but Paul is different class). Cymro (7/1) would be my last option of the six runners and did score at Chester to finally take his maiden but has in turn been soundly put in his place since by Stravagante who in turn disappointed at Royal Ascot. He could possibly place if he puts his best hoof forward, but this really ought to go to one of the front three in the betting if the form book holds up in the slightest.
One more horse for us against the field, and although we feel the Richard Hannon yard are not monopolising as they have in previous years, that does not mean that Jupiter Custos (10/1) arrives here without a chance. Still a maiden after three runs, he has finished second in both of his last two outings at Windsor and Brighton, and will need to step up to the mark to finish in the first half of this field, though he is getting better with his racing, and if the Hannon yard rely on him this afternoon, then they must feel he is well weighted of a rating of 80, even if we don’t.