2.00pm Haydock – GPW Recruitment Handicap Class Three – 1m
Tim Easterby took this race last season with seven-year-old No Poppy and is back again this afternoon with top weight Silvery Moon (33/1) who looks to has a lot on his plate off a rating of 90 and having to carry nine stone seven. Now aged nine it seems safe to assume that improvement is not on the cards, but he is reverting to a mile this afternoon which appears to be his best trip, though even quicker going would be of some benefit. He has scored off a rating of 89 so we aren’t asking too much of the son of Verglas but he must surely be on the downgrade, and a good run with place possibilities is surely the best connections can expect today.
Plenty of bang in form options are entered up to run headed by Clotilde (5/1), with the fact that they booked Ryan Moore bright and early a bit of a clue that they fancy their chances of another win. The daughter of Dubawi is unbeaten this season after wins at Chelmsford Lingfield and Windsor, all over this mile trip or thereabouts and we think she can add another one this afternoon. Her first two wins on the all-weather were pretty decent, but she simply ran away from them back on the grass last time out and if she can repeat that run this afternoon off of her six pound higher mark, then she could still take a lot of stopping with the best jockey on the planet in the saddle and the race likely to be be set up for her with plenty of early pace in the field.
Sticking with the bang in form contenders and Ice Slice (7/1) has to be included having won his last three races, two at Brighton and most recently at Nottingham. This is a step up in class all be it only the one grade, but he has been raised a total of a stone for his prowess meaning he will not find things anywhere near as simple this afternoon, but he clearly gets on really well with jockey Ryan Tate, and connections will be hoping for one more roll of the dice before the handicapper has his measure.
Those who support team Godolphin will have had their fingers badly burned when the once raced but unbeaten at the time Important Point (10/1) surrendered that record rather tamely at Kempton earlier this month when over ten lengths behind winner Cape Icon. Backed down to 7/4 favourite that day, jockey James Doyle reported he ran far too freely to have any chance and it would appear that the handicappers feel the seem as they have failed to drop him an ounce for that run, but if he is less buzzy on his second run this season he could well be a totally different proposition. His maiden win was even more impressive considering James lost an iron at the start, and the suspicion is he could well be a lot better than this in the long term.
To end with, Ivan Furtado has a 35% striker rate of late which is all the more impressive for one of the smaller yards, and he has Ski Blast (12/1) in here near the bottom of the weights as he looks to make it third time luck for the season. Fourth to Taysh at Catterick when running on over seven furlongs, he put up an even better effort when third to get Knotted at Thirsk over this trip, beaten a neck and half a length after a tardy start, and although he has been put up a pound for that effort, if he can get away on level terms he could make a place at a decent price for the each way punters.
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