• Sat 10 Dec, 2016
  • 03:12 GMT
  • 23:12 ET (GMT-4)
  • 05:12 CET (GMT+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Haydock, Kempton and Leopardstown on Saturday. View selections below.

RAIN has upset the ante-post applecart in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock, with GORDON LORD BYRON (3.50) getting the late vote under the prevailing soft ground. Speedball Lethal Force was all the rage when the sun was beating down earlier in the week but will be seriously disadvantaged by testing conditions. The racing Gods have not been kind to his trainer Clive Cox as the stable’s smart second string Reckless Abandon was ruled out on Friday through lameness.

Gordon Lord Byron had Lethal Force well in arrears when scoring on softish ground at Longchamp last October and ran a cracker in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot (fourth) on a surface slicker than ideal. My selection was runner-up in this event 12 months ago, going down by under a length to Society Rock, and arrives here on the back of a game victory in Ireland over a longer trip.

Impressive Stewards’ Cup hero Rex Imperator looks sure to run a big race, while the weather has turned in favour of Soul, a wide-margin winner of a Group 3 at Newbury on deep ground last July. If the track isn’t riding too testing, Hawkeyethenoo could well run into a place at a loud price having looked most unlucky on several occasions this season. His close fourth in the Duke Of York Stakes in May isn’t far off the best form on offer. Underfoot conditions will certainly suit classy three-year-old Garswood.

Impressive Stewards’ Cup hero Rex Imperator looks sure to run a big race, while the weather has turned in favour of Soul, a wide-margin winner of a Group 3 at Newbury on deep ground last July. If the track isn’t riding too testing, Hawkeyethenoo could well run into a place at a loud price having looked most unlucky on several occasions this season. His close fourth in the Duke Of York Stakes in May isn’t far off the best form on offer. Underfoot conditions will certainly suit classy three-year-old Garswood in a wide-open sprint.

MONTIRIDGE (2.40) will be hard to beat in the Betfred Superior Mile. He proved his ability to handle an easy surface when lifting the Heron Stakes at Sandown last season and mopped up a Group 3 last time out with the minimum of fuss. Montiridge can complete his hat-trick for favourite backers.

The Betfred Old Borough Cup over 1m 6f is always a lively betting handicap and Sir Mark Prescott has had this race in mind for some time for PALLASATOR (3.15). A winner here on heavy ground last season, lightly-raced Pallasator can defy a 9lb higher rating. Luca Cumani’s improving Semeen and in-form Platinum are likely to be involved in the shake-up.

There is a valuable card at Kempton with ROYAL EMPIRE (2.20) looking the pick of Godolphin’s three-pronged attack in the Group 3 totepool September Stakes. A previous course winner, Royal Empire was in terrific form in Dubai over the winter. Silvestre De Sousa’s mount then proved he had reacclimatised well to stable life back in Britain by beating globetrotter Red Cadeaux three weeks ago at Newbury in a strong renewal of the Geoffrey Freer Stakes.

Wet weather in Ireland has produced a spring in Roger Charlton’s step and stable star AL KHAZEEM (6.50) can reverse York placings with Declaration Of War and Trading Leather by landing the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Al Kazeem may just have needed that outing after a short break since lifting the Coral Eclipse and the Knavesmire is notorious for throwing up some surprise results. The Fugue, so impressive in the Yorkshire Oaks, may struggle to repeat her breathtaking run on this deeper surface.

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Alan

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