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ITV coverage Saturday starts with a 7-furlong handicap and this is a tricky event. There are not many obviously well handicapped horses here and with a good draw it might just be sensible to stick with MARSHAL DAN, who was in tremendous form when last seen.
A mark of 88 could be a step too far for my selection, but the Heather Main runner loves this course and distance. If he’s anywhere near ready, he must have some sort of each-way chance.
Haydock on ITV begins with this handicap hurdle over nearly 2m. SHANTOU EXPRESS will be given a positive aggressive ride by Davd Bass and might be hard to catch even though a mark of 140 is pretty stiff for a horse of his ability. The six-year-old has been a model of consistency and is sure to run another big race. Vision de Puy an obvious danger under Harry Skelton.
Now a handicap over 1m and it’s another wide-open heat. COLONEL FAULKNER likes to front run and has every chance to do so from stall 3 for Archie Watson and Hollie Doyle. It’s hard to know whether he’s well handicapped off a mark of 83, but he won well in France in December and showed reasonable form at Newcastle when third to the promising Legion of Honour.
Now a handicap chase over an extended 3m 1f and it’s competitive stuff. CROSSLEY TENDER ran a cracker for this column in the Eider last time and has each-way claims once again despite going up another 5lbs for that narrow defeat.
The gelding has been a credit to Paul Henderson, whose team is in good shape, and Tom O’Brien should enjoy a good ride on a chaser who has improved massively all season.
Here’s another handicap over 5 furlongs and if the first two are hard this looks near impossible! JABBAROCKIE has a win at this track and is down to a mark of 93 having been up to 99 in recent times. He’s been off the track since September so who knows how ready he will be, but if he’s right he should give us a run for our money for Eric Alston and Jason Hart.
Lastly at Haydock, we’ve got a handicap hurdle over an extended 3m and on a day of nightmare races here is another! SMALL PRESENT stays very well and is really getting hid act together for Sue Smith and Ryan Mania. The selection has gone in at Catterick off 117 and Doncaster off 123. He’s up to 129 now, but that might not stop him.
Finally on ITV from Musselburgh, a handicap over 1m 6f. THEMAXWECAN is a very tough stayer who gets this trip strong. Trained by Mark Johnston, my hope is on the same mark as when a good second to Ocean Wind over a bit further at Newmarket in September. There’s no reason to think he will need this run massively, so he should give Ben Curtis a good spin for Mark Johnston.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
13:50 Musselburgh – Marshal Dan
14:05 Haydock – Shantou Express
14:25 Musselburgh – Colonel Faulkner
14:40 Haydock – Crossley Tender
15:00 Musselburgh – Jabbarockie
15:15 Haydock – Small Present
15:35 Musselburgh – Themaxwecan
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