When it rains at Haydock Park it pours and pours and then some more so only mud-larks need apply for racing at the Merseyside track on Saturday. The chief beneficiary could be HAWRIDGE STORM off a mark of 80 in the opening extended mile contest at 13.25.
The Rod Millman-trained charge has only visited the racecourse on five occasions and has yet to open his account, but he put up a career-best effort by some way last time out at Goodwood when a cracking second to Sophosc (ran well on his two subsequent outings).
His action suggests this deep ground is what he has been crying for and being by Intello only adds further credence to that argument. I also suspect that as he improves physically in his second season of racing, he will keep taking steps forward and he can take care of House of Kings in this 0-85, three-year-old handicap.
Runner-up behind Intransigent at Chester on a testing surface off 88 last September, GABRIAL THE DEVIL looks ready to strike back on his favourite surface at the same venue in the 6f handicap at 15.40.
With the promising Angus Villiers taking a whopping 7lbs off his back, the Richard Fahey-trained top weight is set to run off a rating of just 78 and could prove too strong for the likes of Fantasy Keeper and light weight Fair Alibi. The last named could run well at a price so I’ll combine him in a reverse forecast with the selection. And a tri-cast with Captain Jameson.
The Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes is the main event at Newmarket, but I find it hard to weigh up juvenile fillies at this time of the year as they can easily take massive steps forward in their form – or in contrast huge steps backward.
I much prefer to have a wager on the classy SALATEEN in the class two, 7f handicap at 16.20.
The seven-year-old has been asked some stiff questions during the past 12 months by David O’Meara, running in the likes of the 2018 Challenge Stakes and this year in the Criterion Stakes, both at HQ.
This represents his easiest task for some time on his favourite turf venue and I shall be very surprised if he cannot make waves here giving weight away to the slightly wayward, but progressive three-year-old Daarik.
My final selection this Saturday takes us to Redcar and our biggest price pick of the day in the 14.55, a class three handicap over 7F. On their best form you could make a real case for at least eight of these, but HAJJAM could be worth a throw of the dice being turned out quickly.
He was very strongly fancied to land a nice prize at Thirsk last Saturday, but just didn’t get the pace in the race he needs to get a tow through, only making late inroads when the prize was already in safe keeping.
The step up to a mile here should suit him better and there is little doubt that the five-year-old is well enough treated on his very best form.
*Prices correct at time of publishing