There is an interesting jumps card at Haydock where as long as the ground is genuinely good Presenting Ace (2.55) can go close with the blinkers on for the first time. The selection seemed to be done by the lack of a true gallop last time and meets the winner Union Island on 5lb better terms taking into account the jockey’s allowance.
As a son of Presenting he has been bogged down in the soft ground for much of the season but was well-backed at Market Rasen when finishing a close third. Brian Ellison has no fewer than seven runners in the race so let’s hope he gives the jockeys the right instructions!
There is a valuable handicap chase where the progressive Mr Syntax (3.30) is ridden by Richard Johnson for the first time. The selection started the season on a very favourable mark but I have always considered him capable of making up into a very decent handicapper. This represents a step up in class, and you could argue he is no longer well-treated but in an open race he is given the nod.
Fourth Estate is likely to be a warm order in the Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle given he has won all four starts under rules and looks leniently handicapped, but Persian Snow (4.05) looked the best horse in the race at Ffos Las last time and is taken to defy a 4lb rise in the weights. The horse will go chasing next season and these mini-fences should see him in a decent light and he ought to run well in another terrific race.
Whatever the fate of Fourth Estate the formidable combination of Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty should land the finale with Picture Post (5.15) a race won by the Lambourn trainer with Darlan last year. Indeed the Seven Barrows handler has landed this prize twice in that last three years; this inmate is bred to win a Kentucky Derby rather than a Haydock Bumper but he is reported to be well forward ahead of his debut.
At Carlisle Vamizi (3.55) can follow up his recent course win; he looked to be over the jumping problems that have blighted his career so far when winning last month and a 5lb rise looks fair representing the yard of Lucinda Russell who has been in such blinding form of late.
If there is a star on show this weekend it is likely to be at Fairyhouse on Sunday and Flemenstar who has looked a future star on soft ground so far this season but with the ground likely to be faster than he has encountered to date how will he cope?
Showers are forecast over the weekend but another concern is the fact that he has given every indication he is best served by a left-hand track. With these concerns he looks too short in a quality renewal and Call The Police (4.30) third in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham may not have the class of stablemate Sir Des Champs but he is high-class novice and is taken to land a terrific Grade 1 contest.
Have a great Easter.