Race Time: 2.20pm Meeting: Haydock Distance: 1m 2f 95yds
Full Race Name: Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Class Two
A classic mile and a quarter handicaps starts off our Haydock coverage with the usual heady mix of improvers, and those looking to recapture former glories, some climbing the weights on the back of recent wins, and others slipping down as their careers are on the wane – but who will come out on top this afternoon? Four of the last nine winners have been three year olds, suggesting conditions may well favour their chances, and the one that really catches our eye at first glance is the Richard Hannon trained Basateen (6/1), a three year old son of Teofilo who will be ridden by Paul Hanagan, certainly one of the best jockeys pound for pound riding at the moment. After a promising debut when third to Lexington times at Newmarket he ran away with his maiden at Doncaster by an easy eight lengths before his last race as a juvenile saw him finish third to Dutch Connection at York, only beaten a length and a half in the Group Three Acomb Stakes. Put away over the winter it seems a fair guess to suggest he had a few niggling problems as he wasn’t seen as a three year old until the eleventh of July when he was very weak in the market before finishing fifth of eighteen to Birdman in a Class Two handicap back at York over a mile, staying on well to be nearest at the finish. On breeding he should be much better suited by the ten furlongs here, and with the run to put him straight (the Hannon horses invariably improve for a run this season) and the yard back in form, a big run can be expected and we await his price with interest.
Godolphin appear to have decided to send Festive Fare (10/1) here instead of form choice Racing History though that may be because the ground is a little quicker than they hoped for? Either way, the three year old will be ridden by Adam Kirby this afternoon in the familiar blue colours, and will hopefully lap up the drop back to ten furlongs. His last two runs were over further in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at royal ascot and then a Listed race on soft ground at Hamilton, but his best run in our view was a two and a half length fourth to Golden Horn at Newmarket which we can safely say has been franked with the victor going on to take the Epsom Derby and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes! Although we can’t take that line too literally, if he repeats it he ought to be far too good for these, problem is there is no guarantee he will run anywhere near to that standard as he hasn’t done so in his last two runs.
Rembrandt Van Rijn (9/2) is another in form option to consider for trainer David Lanigan after his three wins out of three trump the Godolphin beast, though he has been put up exactly a stone since his winning run began. Last time out he only just got home and looks the sort who needs some serious assistance from the saddle to encourage him to put in his very best, but that could also mean he is still ahead of his rating and has a chance at making it four wins on the bounce. Two more at each way prices to consider next, starting with the Mark Johnston trained Master Of Finance (8/1) hopefully his number one choice of three, with Championship chasing Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle. Now a four year old, the son of Mastercraftsman hasn’t managed a win in his last seven outings but has got in to the places four times so clearly relishes a battle, though we would be happier with a bit of rain to soften the ground that would then make him an outstanding each way prospect. Lastly, even we daren’t write off Mica Mika (16/1), if only because we have learnt to show the Richard Fahey yard the utmost respect regardless of the form book! The seven year old runs off a mark of 88 this afternoon, seven pounds higher than his career best winning mark, but he has scored three times already this season and if there is going to be a massive upset, he seems as likely as any to be the one to cause it.