• Thu 30 Jun, 2022
  • 20:26 BST
  • 16:26 EST (BST-4)
  • 22:26 CEST (BST+2)

Four to follow on Thursday

A terrific day’s racing starts at Haydock Park on ground that was described as good to soft on Wednesday morning with further rain due overnight and the prospect of showers on raceday.

William Haggas fits Thunder Legend with cheekpieces for the first time and he has run three excellent races so far this term for the yard having been in the care of Hugo Palmer as a juvenile. He looks sure to run another good race and this looks an easier task than the £100k race he finished runner up in at Chester last time.

On good ground he would have been the selection, but he was pulled out of two starts for his previous yard on good to soft and soft ground and marginal preference is for BELUGA GOLD who looks sure to appreciate the return to 7f having looked in need of further when sixth in a competitive 6f handicap at York last time.

The selection’s sole win came at Catterick over today’s trip, he has run well on soft ground in the past and John Quinn has his string in decent shape.

Espressoo failed to get a mile at Royal Ascot last time but his previous second to subsequent Royal Ascot winner Heredia from a 5lbs lower mark at York is terrific form. He is another danger in a competitive little heat.

Recommendation: 3.00 Haydock – Beluga Gold EW

Gordon Elliot has a strong raiding party at Perth including two in the 2m handicap hurdle, but I hope to see PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL make a winning comeback having been off the course since failing to get home over an additional half-mile on soft ground at Leicester back in February.

The selection is a soft ground hurdles winner and looks fairly treated on the best of last season’s form although he does get further than the minimum trip. He ran well on his sole previous visit to Perth and the hope is that there is a good gallop to chase.

Recommendation: 3.10 Perth - Punxsutawney Phil EW

Andrew Balding – who saddles Upton Park – should know where he stands with DAIQUIRI given the Kingsclere handler trained the third horse home City Streak when the selection scored at Doncaster last time. City Streak has since finished runner up – beaten a neck – at Chepstow last week and I thought Daiquiri looked one to follow in south Yorkshire coming home nearly 4l clear despite get upset in the stalls.

Upton Park is not guaranteed to appreciate this step up to a mile-and-a-half on breeding but was staying on over 10f on polytrack at Lingfield last time.

Alan King has his string in top shape, and he has a number of good opportunities over both codes today. His Admiratty House is considered the main danger to the Meade trained selection.

Recommendation: 7.38 Newbury - Daiquiri

Hotspur Harry is in cracking form at present scoring at Nottingham before finishing second at York in a race for Gentleman Amateur Riders. He is just 3lbs higher in the weights this evening and is still rated 7lbs lower on turf than he is on the all-weather. He should be winning again soon.

It is impossible, however, to get away from the claims of WONDER STARELZAAM who goes unpenalized for running away with an apprentice race here last week over an additional furlong. The selection has been raised 7lbs for that victory but can run off his old mark this afternoon.

Indeed, talented apprentice George Bass couldn’t claim last week but takes off 5lbs this afternoon. I appreciate he is having his second start in nine days and third race in June, but I will be disappointed if he doesn’t run a big race although I appreciate this is a competitive heat.

Recommendation: 8.08 Newbury – Wonder Starelzamm

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