A field of six go to post for the fourth race of the day at Haydock on Saturday, see our betting tips and the full race preview.
IN SUMMARY: With both Ibn Malik and That Is The Spirit likely to go forward, this should be a truly run contest and that just plays into the hands of JUNGLE CAT. He only just found the 115 rated Home Of The Brave too good in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket on his penultimate start and a repeat of that performance would see him very tough to beat. Charlie Appleby’s yard is still in red hot form and William Buick is in equally good order, so he’s very difficult to oppose in a race where many of these have question marks.
1 KOOL KOMPANY (NON RUNNER)
2 JUNGLE CAT – Three wins from twenty-four starts is hardly an inspiring strike-rate but this five year old son of Iffraaj in classy at his best and sets the standard in terms of ratings in this. He was a brilliant second in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket on his penultimate start, only beaten around a length by Home Of The Brave and a repeat of that performance would see very tough to beat under William Buick. Conditions are to suit and the Appleby yard is in red hot form, so it’s very difficult to oppose him.
3 CRAZY HORSE – Four year old for John Gosden who won a competitive Listed race at Salisbury in October, beating a subsequent Listed winner in the process. His return at Doncaster was a poor run however, finishing eighth after being sent off favourite and he’s been gelded since. If back to the best of his form he’d have to be given a big chance, but his best runs have come with some cut in the ground and he’s never run with firm in the description. Risky.
4 IBN MALIK – Comfortable Listed race winner at Newmarket in April 2016 and he made a good return from a year off when fourth at the same venue earlier this month in the Criterion behind Jungle Cat. He clearly needed the run as he hung when asked for an effort and he looks set for a big run now with conditions perfect for this four year old son of Raven’s Pass. Dane O’Neill is in great form and takes the ride, so a big run looks inbound.
5 START TIME – Only six runs for this lightly raced gelding, but he hasn’t been seen since February 2016 when still with the Saeed bin Suroor yard. That last run was in a Conditions race at Meydan, where he finished a disappointing eighth, joining Paul Midgley since. He has evidently had his problems to be off the track for so long and caution is advised unless the market says otherwise after such a long absence.
6 THAT IS THE SPIRIT – Front runner whose last victory came at Chelmsford in April in handicap company, all out to fend off the challengers late on. He has been running well enough of late without threatening to win, finishing sixth in the John of Gaunt Stakes on his penultimate start before a fifth in handicap company at Newcastle in June. More is needed on that evidence and he wont get an easy lead as Ibn Malik is in the line up, so he looks booked for a minor role in this.
7 LAVETTA – Five year old mare who hasn’t found form this season for Sally Haynes, though even on the best of her form she is booked for a big struggle in this. She is rated 29lb inferior to Jungle Cat who is top rated and she could only manage fifth in handicap company on her latest start. On that basis, she is passed over with confidence.