Five winning favourites from the last eight renewals suggest this is as punters goldmine, but the rains have come and it might not be quite so glaringly obvious this season. Just the seven runners but five of them were a winner last time out so something has to give. Our full horse by horse race preview follows plus our selection ahead of the 1.50pm at Haydock on ITV Saturday afternoon.
IN SUMMARY: Although this looks a tightly matched contest at first glance, Martyn Meade’s CHILEAN seemed to be learning all the time when battling between horses to win at Chelmsford and if he handles this going he looks the one they all have to beat and is a great price in the circumstances. The rest all look closely matched with Dark Matter suggested for the forecast, though any or all of these could still get involved in an intriguing race.
1 CHILEAN – Newmarket trainer Martyn Meade has snapped up Silvestre De Sousa to ride the twice raced son of Iffraaj who showed the befit of an educational debut at Newmarket with a clever length and a quarter win when stepped up to the mile on the Chelmsford all-weather at the end of last month. He quickened up when asked to go between horses to win that day and gradually drew away from the field to impress those in attendance, and if he does go on from that as expected then he ought to take a lot of beating here and pay back a little bit more of his 130,000 Guineas purchase price.
2 DARK ACCLAIM – Soft going may have been the key to his impressive three length plus maiden victory last time out at Doncaster, and with the second and third winning next time out, the form has an above average look about it. He has certainly earned his shot in this higher grade and ought to be one of the major players for a stable showing a level stakes profit from three winners in the last fourteen days for a 21% success rate. He will need to improve again but may well do just that and get involved in the finish here.
3 DEE EX BEE – Mark Johnston’s son of Farhh went in to every notebook when winning by two and a quarter lengths on his Goodwood debut but he failed to build as expected on his only other race when a seven and a half-length sixth of eleven on the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York when sent off the 6/5 favourite. Back on a softer surface, he may well do even better stepped up to the mile from the seven furlongs that day, but looks plenty short enough in the betting for a horse with something to prove at present. He could be a contender here on this going with Adam Kirby in the saddle but is no value and others are narrowly preferred.
4 DUBHE – Yet another runner here who finished fourth on his debut and followed that with a win, in his case at Sandown over this trip on similar ground when making all the running for an easy two and a quarter length success from Nuits St Georges. He will need to offer up some improvement here but Charlie Appleby has his horses running well and James Doyle is as good as it gets since returning from Australia, and he ought to be able to get involved in the finish at a price this afternoon.
5 LEARN BY HEART – One of only two who failed to win last time out after a fourth to Hey Gaman at Newbury in Listed class last time out, looking a bit one paced over the seven furlongs. Upped in trip this afternoon we may well see some improvement, and as we know he can handle the softer surface after a maiden win at Doncaster n soft, he seems sure to go well again but is also likely to be over bet for those who can’t resist backing anything owned by The Queen, and even the son if the mighty Frankel may find himself struggling in this field full of improvers.
6 VEEJAY – Three wins from five races for Mick Channon’s colt who scored by a neck from Poet’s Dawn in a Ripon nursery last time out off a rating of 84, giving twelve pounds to the runner up. He showed plenty of resolution to hold off the runner up that day and isn’t short of heart, but after five races he does look fully exposed and this class may be that little bit beyond him at level weights. Graham Lee rides so if it comes to a scrap this pairing won’t go under without a fight but he does seem hard to make a sensible case for on what we have seen so far.
7 YABASS – Forecast to go off the outsider of this field, Archie Watson’s once raced son of Lope De Vega was well backed on his Windsor debut before scoring by a neck from Soldier To Follow when sent to the front close home by jockey Edward Greatrex, who rides again today. His trainer said after that victory that “Yabass is a very nice horse and is very much a horse for next year. He’s got options and we could try to win one of these with a penalty, then there are races like the Stonehenge Stakes and the Ascendant Stakes and those other better races at the end of the year. He wouldn’t mind a bit of cut and I don’t think he wants it rattling”, which seems to indicate he won’t mind the going, and with any amount of improvement possible, he could yet be the fly in the ointment here and put in a solid performance.