Could We See Another Sam Spinner Or Paisley Park At Haydock?

Paisley Park wins the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham

The 2.25pm at Haydock may look, on paper, like just an above-average Grade 3 Handicap for staying hurdles. If you drill deeper, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The last two renewals have gone the way of Sam Spinner and Paisley Park, with both horses going on to far better things. With plenty of low-mileage, improving handicappers in the line-up, could we see another potential staying star in our ITV Racing Tips?

Umbrigado (David Pipe)

Having just the three hurdling runs under his belt, David Pipe’s Umbrigado won his first two outings last winter in great style. He capped off the season with a good sixth in the Grade 1 Mersey at the Aintree Festival and has been absent since.

His progressive profile certainly catches the eye and he makes his seasonal return up in distance from 2m 4f. His pedigree strongly suggests he’ll relish this new test and his opening handicap mark is achievable if he does so. He’s undergone wind surgery over the summer and is highly interesting.

Lisnagar Oscar (Rebecca Curtis)

After two disappointing runs over fences this term, Lisnagar Oscar reverts back to hurdling for Rebecca Curtis. He had some very strong hurdling form last season, which included a fifth in the Albert Bartlett and more recently, a third-place finish in the Sefton at Aintree behind Champ and Emitom.

Although his runs over fences were clearly very disappointing, he still looks to have a bright future and he’s only run six times over timber, so he’s still full of potential in this sphere. Paisley Park won this as a six-year-old last year and it’ll be interesting to see whether this is also the making of him.

Breaking Waves (Noel Williams)

Winning one of his five starts thus far for Noel Williams, this step up in distance should really bring out the best of Breaking Waves. He returned this season with a staying-on fourth at Cheltenham over 2m 5f and today’s stiffer test will really help matters.

His overall profile is progressive and Noel Williams couldn’t have his string in better form at present. Bryony Frost will be a popular jockey booking and given her prowess on ITV Saturdays, it’ll be interesting to see whether she can have another big day on a potentially useful stayer.

Highland Hunter (Paul Nicholls)

Racing four times last term for Lucinda Russell, Highland Hunter won two of those outings, leaving the stable after a fifth-place finish at this venue in a Grade 2 behind Lisnagar Oscar. He’s always looked a dour stayer in the making and joining Paul Nicholls is certainly no bad thing.

The yard’s record this season with their first-time starters hasn’t been impressive, but if he is fully tuned up after a 280-day break, a marked improvement could be around the corner.

Flash The Steel (Dan Skelton)

Winning two of his last three outings, Flash The Steel just kept on finding when scoring at Chepstow in October over the 2m 3f distance. On that evidence, stepping up in distance could really help matters and spark further progress from this lightly-raced seven-year-old. He goes on any ground and both yard and jockey are in brilliant form at present. He’s another who could fill the “potentially anything” bracket in terms of stayers.

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