3.15pm Haydock Tips & Betting Preview 15/04/2017

Kenneth Slack may not be one of the household names in the trainer ranks in the UK but he has a horse that could take plenty of beating in this competitive handicap. Tonto’s Spirit has won with any amount in hand on his last two starts at Sedgefield and Carlisle, winning by 23 lengths at the former track before defying a 7 pound hike to win at the latter track very comfortably when last seen. He is up another 7 pounds but still could be well in and he likes to belt off in front and try make all. If they give him a soft lead here, he will take a lot of stopping and he looks a solid each way bet.

Although carrying top weight wont be easy, Valhalla is perhaps the best starting point for Colin Tizzard. He has run many good races this year, some in better company than this, with the standout perhaps his good fourth in a listed race at Cheltenham in November. Since then he has kept his form reasonably well, with the exception being a chasing debut and a tough task in a Grade 3 at Sandown in February. Dropped back to the two mile trip last time out, he made all in good fashion, holding Amour De Nuit comfortably and he looked to have something up his sleeve. Granted, he’ll need to have with a 6lb rise in the weights as a consequence, but he remains with potential and Colin Tizzard’s yard is going brilliantly at present with winners coming left right and centre. He goes on any type of ground and looks a solid option, so does need considering.

With Barry Geraghty confirmed for the ride, Midnight Maestro looks almost certain to be a big danger for JP McManus and Alan King. He has been steadily improving with every run, taking victory at Warwick on hurdling debut in good style before posting a career best on his latest start at Stratford in a competitive looking race, winning comfortably after showing a good turn of foot. That was his handicap debut and as a result he was raised 7lb for the win, but he looked to have lots up his sleeve so perhaps even that wont be enough to stop him from going very close again for top connections. He remains with huge scope for progress and looks likely to be a popular selection and will be the one we suggest and back this afternoon.

Back to his best last time out when powering clear to land a Stratford handicap, St Saviour isn’t one to rule out off 6lb higher considering the ease of that latest victory. Finishing third in a blanket finish at Hereford in December, he had been poor in three subsequent runs, well beaten at Taunton on his penultimate start in March. Returning a month later at Hereford, he travelled well into the race and was a length clear coming to the last when his only challenger fell, though he looked to have his measure at the time. He’s been raised 6lb as a result which makes things more challenging, but he is already a five time hurdling winner and should have more to give off this mark. He’s ground versatile with wins on good and soft so should give a good account of himself for Philip Hobbs, whose yard is just starting to hit top gear at present.

Although he isn’t perhaps improving at the rate some would have expected, Golden Birthday still has time on his side and looks well weighted for this contest. Winning on his third hurdling start at Plumpton in good style, he has been far from disgraced the last twice in some tough looking races. He was too keen early on at Fontwell on his penultimate start when a long fourth and he looked one paced at Newbury on his latest start behind Remiluc and Chesterfield, with the latter of those winning an Aintree Festival race. He’s been dropped a pound in the handicap which is bound to help in this competitive handicap, though he does need to show more if he’s to be threatening on previous evidence. He certainly looks to have place claims if taking a step forward, but that could be said the last twice.

Only three pound above his last winning mark and with the Tom George yard in fine form at present, Stamp Your Feet could be a lively threat. Another racing in the colours of JP McManus, he won well at handicap debut at Hereford in December, running on strongly to snatch the prize on the post, ahead of St Saviour on that occasion. The last twice he has posted two respectable efforts, with the latter of those a third at Ludlow in February, where he weakened on the flat. He’ll need to improve, but he’s only 3lb above his last winning mark and should be capable of better in time. He’s certainly got lively place claims and shouldn’t be discounted.

With his mark slowly dropping again, perhaps Eyes Of A Tiger can turn in a good shift and threaten to take his third hurdling victory. He has had eight runs under rules for Brian Ellison and gained his second win (first in Britain) at Wetherby in November, making all and never looking in much danger off a basement mark. He has been far from disgraced on the three runs afterwards, finishing fifth after trying to make all and he was only beaten around eight lengths, with Stamp Your Feet two lengths ahead of him. The handicapper has dropped him 2lb on that back of that latest effort and this ground versatile sort could take advantage after being given an 85 day break. He’ll have competition for the lead which is of concern, but he can go well for a yard who’re still in the winners.

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