2.30pm Haydock – Three Sisters Handicap Class Two – 2m 45yds
A fiendishly competitive two-mile handicap that sees the handicapping genius that is Sir Mark Prescott represented today by Moscato (6/1) up near to the top of the weights with Luke Morris almost certain to ride. The handicapper wont’ have been too pleased with his earlier exploits as he ran up five wins from six races in the summer of 2104, all be it in much lower grades, which may be why they have refused to put him down a pound for finishing seventh in his last two races. Last time out he was only beaten two and a half lengths by Grumeti in the Cesarewitch which is nothing to be ashamed of, and if he arrives her in similar form he still has each way chances. He did win first time out last season at Ascot over this trip, so it seems as if he can go well fresh when they want him to, and we suggest a close eye on the betting pre race though to be fair, we doubt the bookies take too may risks where Sir Mark is concerned.
Yorkshire trainer Tim Easterby is ticking over nicely this season, and in My Reward (11/2) he has a rock solid chance of success and at an each-way price. Held up on his first attempt at the trip at Ripon he was brought with a decent looking run despite his 18/1 starting price, but the winner had flown and second was the best he could hope for. Now they know he gets the two miles they can ride him a little more positively if they choose to which makes life easier for jockey David Allan, and although he has been put up another three pounds his added fitness today could well mean he can shrug that off with ease.
David O’Meara had a slow start to the season by his lofty standards since moving base but is back in among the winners again and will be expecting a big run from Saved By The Bell (8/1) who had a pipe opener when fourth to Mirsaale on his return to action at Ripon. Easy to back that day it seems fair to assume he will have needed the run, but we also note he has yet to win over this two mile trip despite some decent efforts and has to carry ten pounds more than his highest winning mark which may well prove beyond him, though to be fair this isn’t much of a race considering the guaranteed £20,000 in prize money.
Donald McCain may be much better known for his exploits over the jumps these days but he has an interesting contender in Venue (25/1) who has raced over hurdles for nine of his last ten races. He did win three on the bounce on the flat in 2013 ending with a win at Haydock off a rating of 92 yet he only has to shoulder to pounds less today and if he strips fitter for a frankly disappointing return at Chester then he could yet get in to the mix, and is most certainly favourably weighted on his very best form of yesteryear.
Vive Ma Fille (9/1) will be our last suggestion here, though Mark Johnston has seen a few well fancied horses overturned in recent weeks. After winning first time out at Lingfield in March 2015, she has gone ten races in a row without success even if some of them were at a much higher level, and she seems to have become difficult to win with. She has been put down another couple of pounds for her return sixth at Newmarket in similar grade and should strip fitter today, but will need to be at her best today with others possibly better handicapped in the circumstances.
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