Haydock stage a mixed jumps/flat card with trainer Nicky Henderson looking to saddle the winner of the feature Swinton Hurdle for the third year on the spin. The Lambourn handler has three of the 20 declared runners this year and, despite the fact the Barry Geraghty rides recent Aintree winner Lifestyle, I think All The Aces (3.40) must have a great chance given he has form on soft ground and looks well treated on bits of his novice form. Granted his form tailed off towards the end of the season but you can still get 14/1 at Betvictor and that looks a fair price each way.
Charm School will appreciate getting his toe in after running well at Ayr on ground too quick and there are bits of form that suggest Double Ross and the progressive Dreambrook Lady are worth keeping an eye on in what promises to be a terrific renewal of this prestigious early season jumps handicap.
In the opening Long Distance Hurdle Victors Serenade is a fascinating contender reverting to timber having been in excellent form over the larger obstacles; soft ground holds no fears and he must go close but preference is for The Tracey Shuffle (2.00) stepping up to 3m for the first time for David Pipe; the selection finished third at Punchestown returning from a two-month break last time and although he is not guaranteed to stay 3m he looks potentially well treated on his handicap debut.
Beacon Lodge won the 7f conditions race last year and back in 2009 for Clive Cox and bids for his hat-trick under the care of Dandy Nicholls this year. He is entitled to come on for his recent comeback at the Curragh, but the Nicholls’ yard have made a quiet start to the season and preference is for Firebeam (4.15) who was improving at a rate of knots towards the end of the last flat season and can continue his upward curve; the selection goes on soft ground and holds an entry for next month’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Mark Johnston brings Limit Up (4.00) south to Ascot after his disappointing debut when he failed to live up to either market or trainer expectations at Musselburgh on debut. He can make that experience count although there are a couple of well bred newcomers in opposition including Forbidden Fruit from the inform Meehan camp and the expensive purchase Janoub Nibras from the Richard Hannon stable.
The Oaks and Derby Trials at Lingfield have been transferred from the turf to their polytrack surface on account of the recent rains; there was much to like about the racecourse debut of Vow (2.40) at Newbury where she landed a maiden that has been won by some decent fillies in recent years including Dancing Rain, who went on to Oaks glory for the same yard, last year.
The colts’ race can go to Shantaram (3.10) still a maiden after two starts; the selection went down by nose to Model Pupil at Newmarket last month and that form was franked when the runner up himself lost out by the narrowest of margins in the Chester Vase.
The unbeaten Main Sequence landed a gamble for the David Lanigan yard on his reappearance and is ready for this step up in grade; some will devalue the Classic Trials as they are not run on turf but they look most informative renewals.BetVictor have a sensational offer at betvictor.com for the forthcoming Euro 2012 tournament: place a bet on the outright market and if holders and World Champions Spain retain their European crown in Kiev on 1st July they will refund losing bets up to £50. Thus if you fancy Germany, Holland or – don’t laugh, England, they will refund your losing stake if Spain continue their recent monopoly of major tournaments. This offer is backdated and lasts until the first ball is kicked in Warsaw when the hosts Poland meet Greece on June 8th.