Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle Haydock 2ml 7f Saturday

Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle Haydock 2ml 7f Saturday

Saturday’s contest is run over obstacles based on the French hurdle design, which is similar to a plain fence but lower in height, and significantly, unlike the British design, are of very rigid and inflexible construction, so it comes as no surprise that many subsequent top chasers, such as Grand Crus and Dynaste have won the race, and Holywell and Synchronised have been placed.

David Pipe has won three of the ten renewals of the contest, but given the likely conditions at the weekend and the current low strike rate of the Nicholashayne operation his two representatives, Low Key, and Batavir are passed over. However the man with the second best record in the race, Nick Williams, who has hit the back of the net on two occasions, runs the six year old Tea for Two, and he isn’t so easy to dismiss.

He breezed up in the 21f Lanzarote hurdle last January off a mark of 134, winning by 16L, but was hit with a 19lbs rise for his trouble. Having disappointed in his next two races he has been cut some slack by the handicapper and raced with some promise, off a mark of 142 finishing sixth, on his reappearance at Chepstow six weeks ago. By Kayf Tara, Saturday’s 23f shouldn’t present any problems and again enjoying the benefit of Lizzie Kelly’s 5lbs claim he looks a well handicapped horse off his new mark of 141, only 7lbs higher than for his Lanzarote romp.

With a greater emphasis on stamina likely at the weekend, Warren Greatrex certainly has a candidate in Shantou Bob bred for the job. The seven year old is by the St Leger winner, Shantou, out of a Bob Back mare so Saturday’s 23f should hold no fears. He relished testing conditions in only his third race over hurdles, when failing by the shortest of margins to get the better of Vyta Du Roc in a Cl1 Gd2 novices hurdle at Sandown last December. He was staying on with great resolution, and the effort was even more meritorious as he lost a shoe causing him to hang. He broke a blood vessel when odds on in his next race and was a little disappointing at the Festival over three miles, but did run on well to finish sixth. Very lightly raced one feels the best is still to come from Shantou Bob and a reproduction of his Sandown effort would put him firmly in the mix.

Venetia Williams’s French-bred 5yo Yala Enki looked an animal going places when hosing up in a 21 1/2f novices hurdle at Exeter eighteen days ago, making all, and winning by sixteen lengths. A winner over fences in France he is clearly a pretty versatile young horse and as six of the ten winners have hailed from his country of birth, and five of the last six first past the post, have been five year olds, the stats certainly point firmly in his direction.

Brian Ellison’s 6yo Definitly Red showed the right attitude, when despite a ground losing mistake at the third last, he fought back to beat the favourite, Fletchers Flyer, over three miles at the course in Febuary on soft ground. He was pulled up at the Festival, but this winner of two listed bumpers in testing conditions at Newbury and Cheltenham, (also won a heavy ground Uttoxeter bumper) definitly has an engine and looks well treated off a mark of 138, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st10lbs. A winner first time out for the last two years, he is well worth considering.

Emma Lavelle’s triple course winner, Closing Ceremony, is worth a second look. He was beaten in a 26f Warwick slog by Join The Clan, to whom he was conceding 22lbs, (including Patrick Cowleys 10lb allowance) last January off a mark of 134, but made a very good impression five weeks later when making all in a Cl1 Gd2 hurdle over three miles at Haydock, in a time four seconds faster than Definitly Red managed on the same day. While such time comparisons can be slightly spurious this stout stayer is clearly on the up, and will definitly improve for his reappearance run behind Aqualim three weeks ago.

Selection : Shantou Bob

E.W. : Definitly Redhaydock park

Darley July Stakes Betting Tips 6f Newmarket Saturday

Muhraar

Gimcrack winner Muhaarar is the Oddsguru’s fancy for Saturday’s big race.

First run in 1876, The July Cup is considered by many to be the 6f championship, and with names such as Green Desert, Soviet Star, Cadeaux Genereux, and Royal Academy, on the roll of honour, it is hard to disagree. Winning form at the distance has been of paramount importance, the only exception in recent years being the filly Fleeting Spirit, who had been runner up in a 6f Gp1.

With only seven 3yo’s collecting in the last twenty runnings, it can’t be said that the younger generation are having the best of it, but historically honours have been pretty evenly shared. The outstanding 3yo in this years renewal is undoubtedly the Charlie Hills trained Muhaarar. By the outstanding sire Oasis Dream, he is a product of his owner, Sheik Hamdan’s, Shadwell stud.

Muhaarar had a fine two year old career, which included a win in the 6f Gp2 Gimcrack Stakes, and a third in the 6f Gp1 Middlepark. He surprised many when winning the 7f Gp3 Greenham stakes on his reappearance, but then blotted his copybook when finishing 8th in the French Guineas. Excuses were made due to his wide draw, but, wisely returned to sprinting, he has been a revelation. In the newly inaugurated Gp1 Commonwealth Stakes, a 6f contest confined to 3yo’s at Royal Ascot, where held up off the pace, Muhaarar came with a devastating run in the final furlong to go clear, beating the high class Limato by 3 3/4L, with Saturday’s rival, Anthem Alexander, a further 3/4L back in third, in a time faster than the following days Golden Jubilee Stakes. A repeat performance at the weekend must give him great prospects of emulating his sire, who won this in 2003.

Chris Waller must have been a bemused and disappointed man following the defeat of his Australian champion, Brazen Beau, in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, where amazingly his rider Craig Williams chose to race all alone on the stand side. Considering he had nothing to run with he ran a marvellous race to finish second, 1/2L behind Undrafted, with Saturday’s opponent, Astaire 1 3/4L back in third. He has been twice a winner at the highest level over the distance in his native Australia, on the last occasion ( March 14th) in a blindingly fast time. One slight negative is that due to the vagaries of the breeding seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, he is classified as a 4yo ( despite being only 5 months older than Muhaarar) and has to concede the weight for age 6lbs. However with James Doyle now in the plate, and sporting the Godolphin colours for the first time, this outstanding sprinter is going to take all the beating at the weekend.

David O’Meara pulled off a minor miracle when winning the Gp1 sprint at Haydock with the then 3yo, G Force last September. He has been disappointing in his three races since, but two of them have been at Ascot, a course that may well have not suited him. His other run was in the 5f Temple Stakes at Haydock where he met all sorts of trouble in running and finished 5th. His brilliant young trainer reports that the “engine is still intact” so returned to 6f on Saturday, it would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end.

Richard Fahey’s 4yo gelding Eastern Impact obviously enjoys the East Anglian air as three .of his four wins have been at headquarters. He beat last Saturday’s talented Windsor winner, Huntsman’s close, on his reappearance at Newmarket in May, but then failed to get in a blow behind Tropics at Windsor. However his close 4th in a Gp3 at Newcastle (June27) was more encouraging, so in the hands of R.Fahey, who won this with a similar type, Maysoon, three years ago, is considered.

The unlucky horse in the Newcastle race was undoubtedly Michael Appelby’s 4yo gelding Danzeno. Slowly into his stride, under a less than inspired ride from Andrew Mullen, despite stumbling after 2f, he finished 3rd, behind Aeolus and Saturday’s opponent, Mattmu. Frankie Dettori takes over riding duties at the weekend, so at odds of 20/1 he could represent some e.w. Value.

Another whose sire won the race is the Michael Lynam trained Anthem Alexander. By Starspangledbanner, who won the 2010 renewal, his 3yo daughter is proving to be a super game and talented racehorse. She ran a great race when finishing third to Muhaarar at Royal Ascot, but on paper her prospects of reversing the form look remote. However Lynam, who is such a master trainer of sprinters feels that perhaps the Ascot race had come too soon following her reappearance victory at Naas eighteen days earlier, and expects things to be closer on Saturday. It is worth pointing out that fillies and mares have a poor record in the race, with only two succeeding in the last thirty years, so perhaps a place is the best that can be hoped for.

Selection: Muhaarar.

Danger: Brazen beau.

Old Newton Cup 1m4f Haydock Saturday

Old Newton Cup

The very underrated Keith Dalgleish has done a marvellous job with the ex Sir Michael Stoute trained 5yo, Oasis Dream gelding, Pressure Point.

Luca Cumani has won the Haydock race four times since 1997, (the last time with Mad Rush, 2008) so current joint favourite, Penhill is of interest. He looked an animal to keep on the right side of when winning a Cl3 1m4f Ascot handicap, off a mark of 86 on his reappearance, when a well backed 13/8 fav. He went of at even shorter odds, 6/4, to follow up at Newmarket three weeks later off a 7lbs higher mark in a Cl2 event, but never really got competitive behind Watersmeet. He took a very strong hold, and Cumani reported that Penhill was unsuited by the course. Returned to a left handed turning track, (has won over Nottingham’s similar course) it would be no surprise to see his uber shrewd trainer in the winners enclosure on Saturday.

Andrew Balding’s very progressive 4yo Mount Nelson filly, Elbereth, looks interesting. On only her second start on turf she stepped up considerably on her first, where despite not handling Brighton’s idiosyncratic course, she was only beaten 3/4L in a Cl3 handicap off a mark of 80. Ridden by the very promising 7lb claimer Edward Greatrex, she was stepped up to Cl2 level at the Derby meeting and won cleverly off a mark of 86.(1m2f). Due to race off an 8lb higher mark at the weekend,( 7lbs will again be negated by Greatrex’s claim ) and having won over the distance, albeit on Wolverhampton’s all weather surface, this fast improving filly with just 8st4lbs (including the 7lbs claim) in the plate, has a lot in her favour, and is shortlisted.

The very underrated Keith Dalgleish has done a marvellous job with the ex Sir Michael Stoute trained 5yo, Oasis Dream gelding, Pressure Point. Beautifully bred, this full brother to the Group1 winning Visit, and half brother to the top class filly Promising Lead, who has also succeeded at the top level, was bought out of the Stoute yard, having failed to catch the judges eye as a 3yo. under the Dalgleish tutelage he picked up a Cl5 handicap at Mussellburgh last September off a mark of 67. He won a similar contest at Newcastle in April this year off 70, but it was his last run which emphasised the progress that has been made. Stepped up to Cl3 level at York at the end of May (1m4f) he stayed on well to beat Dance King off a mark of 83. It is quite probable that there is plenty more to come from this very well connected animal, and it will be no surprise to see him staying on strongly up the long Haydock straight at the weekend. Definitely one for the short list.

Roger Varian, whose horses invariably perform well at Haydock, runs his 4yo Galileo colt, Battersea. He won a Cl2 Ascot handicap (1m4f) off a mark of 90 in very taking fashion last September, but disappointed six weeks later in a similar contest, off a 10lbs higher mark at Newmarket. The Newmarket effort was too bad to be true, so considering normal improvement from three to four, he doesn’t look badly treated on 99. Perhaps he is one best caught fresh, so is well worth a second look.

Amanda Perrett’s Sea the Stars 4yo colt, Astronereus, ran a fine race in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot to finish 3rd off a mark of 100. He has been raised 2lbs for Saturday’s contest, giving him an intimidating burden of 9st5lbs to carry. However the Ascot race has been a good guide to this, so provided the two above him in the handicap don’t come out (triggering a further weight rise), his chance has to be respected.

Alan Swinbank, who won with Collier Hill way back in 2003, runs his 4yo Galileo gelding, Kinema. He showed how well suited he is by a truly run race at the trip, when winning over Carlisle’s testing track (1m3 1/2f) last week off a mark of 84. Having run seventeen times he is quite exposed, but he has been mostly campaigned at shorter, so perhaps the step up in trip has elicited improvement. Again partnered by the very talented Ben Curtis, he is worth keeping an eye on.

Selection: Pressure Point.

E.W. Elbereth.

Betfred Grand National Trial 3m4f Chase Haydock Saturday

David Pipe’s Broadway Buffalo

Twice a course winner, David Pipe’s Broadway Buffalo certainly seems to enjoy the Lancashire air. He looked the finished article when trotting up over the course ( 3m hvy ) in December, off a mark of 129, only to disappoint six days later at Wetherby.

As a pointer to the winner of the big one at Aintree, Saturday’s race has been something of an irrelevance as none of the last ten winners of this have been involved at the business end of the National. Indeed with this years renewal being run before the weights for the big race have even been published, one has to assume that Aintree in April will not be uppermost in connections minds.

However it is a very valuable and competitive affair which certainly stands on it’s own merits. As would be expected at Haydock this time of the year, with the surface invariably testing, Saturday’s trial is going to put a huge emphasis on stamina. All previous winners had winning form over at least three miles. Weight is also significant with only two, Silver by Nature, ( 2011 ) and Miko de Beauchene , ( 2008 ) managing to carry more than 11st to victory over the past decade. Both carried 11st12lbs. Lucinda Russell has been the most successful handler, scoring twice with Silver by Nature over the same period. Age has been no bar to success, with two eleven year olds and a ten year old winning in the last ten years, but significantly these older animals had been relatively lightly raced, contesting less than fourteen chases.

Paul Nicholls who won with Shotgun Willy in 2003, is represented by the current favourite, (5/1) and top weight Benvolio (11st 10lbs). He ran a super race in the Wesh National, where having disputed the lead for the entire distance (3m 5 1/2f), in stamina sapping conditions, he was just run out of it in the final stride, going down by a shd to Emperors Choice, with Saturday’s opponent Glenquest 2 1/2l back in third. Now 6lbs higher and 4lbs worse of with Glenquest, he has his work cut out on Saturday. However he has been given a six week break to recover from his Chepstow exertions and coming from this yard is hard to dismiss.

Nigel Twiston-Davies trains the lightly raced 10yo Benbens, who has had only nine races over fences and certainly looks interesting. He ran Saturday’s opponent, Samstown, to a nk over the course four weeks ago, ( 3m1f chase ) and meets that rival on 9lbs ( including Ryan Hatch’s 5lbs claim ) better terms on Saturday. He finished like a train to make up 5l from the last on the winner, and while some would argue that Samstown was idling in front, a 9lb pull looks significant and he is shortlisted. Samstown on the other hand, has no record of carrying big weights in handicaps and with a welter weight of 11st11lbs this out and out stayer is reluctantly passed over.

Having finished fourth in both the Hennessy and the Welsh National Michael Scudamore’s Monbeg Dude deserves consideration . He is 8lbs better off with Benvolio for the 8 3/4L he was behind him at Chepstow, and this sometimes careless jumper, might well be suited by Haydocks less demanding obstacles. A winner of the Welsh National on heavy ground two years ago he certainly should’nt fail on the stamina front, but is another burdened with 11st11lbs.

Twice a course winner, David Pipe’s Broadway Buffalo certainly seems to enjoy the Lancashire air. He looked the finished article when trotting up over the course ( 3m hvy ) in December, off a mark of 129, only to disappoint six days later at Wetherby. He can easily be forgiven this lapse as in all probability the race came too soon. Being by a son of Theatrical, out of a Le Bavard mare, he is bred to stay all day, so returned to his favourite track ( two wins from two outings ) he is another for the shortlist.

Lucinda Russell runs the relatively lightly raced 11yo, Lie for It, who has raced eleven times over fences. He put up a strong staying performance at Kelso last time, ( 3m2f hvy ) beating a rejuvenated Harry the Viking by 2L. Both animals will appreciate the extra two furlongs at the weekend, particularly Sandy Thomson’s 10yo, who boasts a second in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Certainly if the weather stays dry Harry the Viking on 5lbs better terms must have prospects of reversing the Kelso form.

Only 1lb higher than when finishing a close third in last years Scottish National, Tim Easterby’s Trustan Times looks well treated. A winner of the Cl 1 Gd3 fixed brush hurdle over the course a couple of seasons ago, ( £45,000. To the winner ) he hasn’t shown much in his three outings since his fine third in the Scottish race. However the stable has been badly out of form since October, and only recently has shown signs of a revival. Indeed the horse himself showed some promise last time at Musselburgh, so it would be no great surprise to see a prominent performance at the weekend.

Alpha Victor is an out and out stayer who has a 100 0/0 record over the course. He finished second off a mark of 138 in a 3m1f hurdle and races on Saturday off 133, giving him a nice racing weight of 11st. He thrives on heavy ground, so if conditions deteriorate,he would be well worth considering.

Gas Line Boy looked progressive when winning twice in November. He won off a mark of 128 at the beginning of November, and 18 days later hosed up by 13L from the subsequent Welsh National winner Emperors Choice over the course ( 3m5f ) off a mark of 132. He was pulled up in the Welsh National, possibly because of the attritional conditions, off a mark of 147, so doesn’t appear too badly treated off 142 on Saturday. Given decent ground at the weekend, another worth a second look.

Selection: Broadway Buffalo

E.W. :Benbens