Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Haydock, Ascot, Thirsk and Kempton. View selections below:
A wonderful day’s racing with Haydock Park’s feature the Betfred Sprint Cup over six furlongs. The last two winners of the corresponding Group 1 contest Gordon Lord Bryom (2013) and G Force (2014) are in the line-up but I am going to take a chance that the progressive Magical Memory (3.45) can bridge the gap between top-class handicapper and group one winner.
It is well documented that the Charlie Hills yard has an embarrassment of three-year-old sprinting riches and, whilst I am not suggesting the selection is in the same class as his brilliant stablemate Muhaarar, the grey can reward each way support at BetVictor (10/1) who are paying four places on the event.
In the opener another grey Sovereign Debt (2.00) will appreciate returning to a mile having been tapped for toe over 7f at the Curragh last time. The 6-y-old has a bit to find on the disappointing Ivawood on official figures but he has an excellent draw in stall two, Chris Hayes comes over to ride and I would be disappointed in he didn’t go close in this company. Last year’s winner Captain Cat and Godolphin’s Let’s Go are others to consider but the hope is it’s a grey day at Haydock.
In the Old Borough Cup High Secret (6/1 at BetVictor) is taken to justify favouritism for Sir Mark Prescott. The selection is another upwardly mobile sort who has not been out of the first two in his last four starts, goes on any ground and has an excellent draw in stall three given there is not much if a run before the first turn over 1m 6f at the Lancashire track.
At Ascot no surprise to see Culturati (1.40) drop back in trip having looked a non-stayer at Newmarket over a mile; the smell of burnt fingers wafted all over the July course on that occasion but this Dewhurst entry can make it third time lucky. There are some well-bred newcomers and other juveniles with decent form in the field but connections think a fair bit of the selection and he can go one better than his first two starts.
Dawn Of Hope (2.15) looked in need of another furlong when third on debut over 7f and this Fillies’ Mile entry is taken to score for Roger Varian and Jim Crowley who takes over in the saddle for Andrea Atzeni who is Haydock bound.
The £100,000 Heritage Handicap for the classic generation is an absolute cracker; in the four previous renewals the winner has carried 9st or more and Her Majesty’s Dartmouth turned a valuable Goodwood handicap into a procession last time but must overcome a 13lb rise.
William Haggas’ has been patient with Wonder Laish (3.25) who was taken out of the Melrose at York last month on account of the drying ground but as long as the ground is no better than good to soft he must go close off a mark of 87.
Dissolution has been bitterly disappointing since chasing home Time Test at Newbury earlier in the season but a drop to 10f was never going to suit at Newmarket last time; he is another to consider in a quite magnificent race where 8 of the 11 runners won last time out.
At Thirsk Bathos (3.05) has done us a couple of favours in recent weeks and can land the hat-trick at Thirsk for Mark Johnston. The selection might try and make all but Paul Mulrennan is likely to make sure the race is run at a decent pace given all the colt did was stay at Newmarket last time. This tight track is a slight concern but he is clearly improving for the Middleham handler and he looks to have found a good opportunity for the treble.
Marmion’s (5.25) latest run at York was too bad to be true but he is given an each way shout in the Hambleton Cup. Decent apprentice Jacob Butterfield takes off a valuable 3lbs and he has been given the best part of two months to get over what was obviously ailing him on the Knavesmire last time.
Great to see Jack Hobbs (1.45) have his Arc prep run on Kempton’s all-weather surface; the colt hasn’t been seen on the track since running away with the Irish Derby back in June and the polytrack holds no terrors given he won his maiden at Wolverhampton over Xmas.