Race Time: 2.35pm Meeting: Haydock
Distance: 2m 4f
Full Race Name: Connolly’s Red Mills “Precision Nutrition” Series Handicap Hurdle Final (Class 2)
Our tip for the 2.35pm Haydock live on Channel 4 Racing is:
Even with just the sixteen runners standing their ground we could be in for the more interesting races of the day. We have had our wish granted as Southfield Vic stands his ground, and having backed him last time out when winning at Wincanton over quarter of a mile further, and knowing that trainer Paul Nicholls has a frankly ridiculous record in the televised weekend races for pretty much all of 2015, je looks the number one pick. The drop back in trip didn’t ought to be a concern, with the likely frantic early pace bringing his stamina into play, though as with all the statistics, we need to take that into account when deciding whether or not he is the value call? Four other runners won last time out, with Gamain a very interesting contender as he gets in here carrying a mere ten stone, thanks to the Nicholls beast standing his ground. A comfortable winner at Huntingdon last time out when making all the running, that was in first-time blinkers which we see again here, in which case he will think he has been let loose in a field off that weight, and would prove mightily difficult to peg back and pass up the Haydock straight.
With the Jonjo O’Neill yard having such a poor start to the season, there is every possibility that his horses are well handicapped now he is in some kind of form, in which case do include Upswing in any exotics. Another who is lightly raced this season, this will only be his fifth run, with his best performance for some time last time out when runner-up to Gold Futures at Carlisle, with the winner three opposing here on two pounds worse terms. In theory that would leave precious little between the pair, I just wonder whether Jonjo’s gelding may have a fraction more room for improvement regarding his fitness, in which case he may well the capable of turning round that form.
Raktiman is another recent winner who seems to be going the right way for trainer Richard Drake and will be ridden by Samantha Drake who will no doubt ride him in work and know the eight year old inside out. Two wins this season at Market Rasen, and places at other tracks suggest he is in the form of his life to be fair, and he should run well – though if this was at Market Rasen we would be a lot more tempted to back him!
Lastly, Make Me A Fortune would be the most appropriately named winner, and has the sort of form to suggest he can get into the mix. Still relatively lightly raced over this sort of distance, he was quite impressive last time out at Sedgefield on the soft ground expected today, and although he has been put up ridiculous seven pounds for winning there, he could continue to improve in these two and a half mile races and is the last one for now that we will offer up for your early runners list.