2.10pm Haydock – ApolloBet Daily Racing Refunds Handicap Class Two – 7f
An interesting race that saw Emell win at 25/1 last year for Richard Hannon, and not a single successful favourite in the three runnings to date. Starting at the very top and Majestic Moon (11/1) has to carry top weight now, but looks fully exposed and may well be in the grip of the dreaded handicapper. This is certainly his trip with six of his seven career victories over seven furlongs which we see as a pretty specialist distance, but he does race today carrying six pounds more than his highest previous winning mark (before his jockey’s claim). Sadly for him, there are plenty of improvers lower down in the weights, and he may struggle today regardless of his overall abilities. He does have an advantage over some with a comeback run at Lingfield in March when an excellent second to Shyron at odds of 33/1, suggesting there is more to come with that race under his belt.
Sadly for the top weight, we prefer the each way chances of Above The Rest (12/1 Each Way), David Baron’s five year old son of Excellent Art who is a course and distance winner on similar going from July last year. He was unsurprisingly put up in the weights for that win but has been slowly slipping down again since and finally gets conditions to suit again this afternoon. He was third at Chester off a mark of 92 and only beaten a length and a half by Sound Advice and races off of the same rating again this afternoon which implies to us he has decent chances. He did go off the boil a bit after that but may have had enough for the season, and fresh and well for his return this afternoon, we think he can pull off a bit of a surprise.
With some of the William Haggas horses looking as if they will improve for a run so far this season, it may be worth giving Predominance (6/1) another chance despite a below expectations effort when last seen at Doncaster in the Spring Mile. Sent off the well backed 7/2 favourite that day, he may have been given a bit too much to do by Pat Cosgrave before keeping on at one pace close home, but that was his first run in five months and on heavy ground, and there is good reason to believe he will strip a lot fitter here (and be a lot happier on the better surface). The handicapper has left him on the same mark (which is a shame), but he has only had the four career runs and is open to any amount of improvement, even if the drop back to seven furlongs is an issue if he fails to get away on level terms.
For reasons unknown, a lot of the David O’Meara horses have needed a run this season and he will still be learning all about Lord Of The Land (7/1) who has only had the one outing for the stable having arrived from Andre Fabre this season. Well supported in the market for the Lincoln handicap at Doncaster he disappointed badly when beaten sixty lengths after weakening badly, though David reported the soft ground really didn’t suit as an explanation. Although they are still predicting plenty of cut in the turf for today, it ought to be a bit better than it was at Donnie and it will be interesting to see f the money is down again, or if connections keep a watching brief.
Trainer Richard Fahey has started off well at the beginning of the new season which made the run of Right Touch (10/1) all the more disappointing at Doncaster as the six-year-old looked to continue where he left off last season – with a victory. He did finish in front of Predominance that day but is seven pounds worse off for less than three lengths so has his work cut out today, but we don’t think that was his true running and we are hoping for a much better effort this afternoon. He did win over six furlongs at Ascot and then seven furlongs at Ayr at the end of last season so clearly has plenty of ability, but who knows for certain if he is in the handicapper’s grasp.
Finally, and right at the bottom of the weights, we have Georgian Bay (12/1) who has the added bonus of rider Clifford Lee who takes an extra seven pounds off his back. Rated 98 on the all-weather where he has been kept busy over the winter, he gets in here off a ten pound lower turf mark even before the seven pounds are taken off, and although he is yet to win on the grass after seventeen attempts there is no argument that he is potentially well handicapped, and he could yet run a big race today at an equally big price.
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