Cameras head off to Haydock today for Finals Day of the Betway Challenger series of races, although only three are being shown owing to the distraction of the meeting at Musselburgh, which hosts an impossible looking sprint feature.
With all the races at Haddock being worth the same amount (£30,950) we’ll go chronological and start with the Betway Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle at 2.05.
This 16 runner affair is wide open, with the favourite, Cause Toujours, available at 9-2.
We are going to go slightly ‘left field’ with our selection, which is Red Tornado each way at 12-1.
Previously trained by Dan Skelton, this 7-y-o joined the unfashionable yard of Chris Fairhurst in January and, after two warm up runs on the All-Weather, ran an absolute stormer back over hurdles when a close third off today’s mark of 132 at Stratford. With the ground very much in its favour, we recommend an each way bet at 12-1.
The Betway Challenger Staying Chase Series Final Handicap Chase at 2.40 looks, frankly, a weak race for the money and presents a good opportunity for Sumkindofking to get back on the winning trail. Tom George‘s 8-y-o is wholly a top of the ground horse, which has been running OK on softer than ideal surfaces but gets its conditions today. With son Noel taking off a handy 7lbs, this has to be backed each way at 13-2.
The final televised race is the Betway Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle with a field of 11 due to go to post. Once again, the ground could be key and is unlikely to suit the favourite, Trickster, which has been put in at 9-2.
Closely matched with the Fav on earlier running, we prefer the chances of Lygon Rock, which will relish conditions and is weighted to win. With Dickie on board, there’s always a chance that the partnership will hit the deck (has more falls over hurdles than fences) but is well worth an each way bet at 7-1.
Over at Musselburgh, I’m afraid we are not going to try the Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap at 3.00 on the grounds that NFI applies.
We do have two bets here, though, starting with an each way bet on Hayadh at 7-1 in the 1.50, the Silver Arrow Handicap. Rebecca Bastiman‘s 6-y-o was a CD winner just two runs ago and came back from its winter break with a very promising third, again over this CD at the beginning of this month. Any hint of improvement will see it go close this afternoon.
Most valuable race of the day is the Queen’s Cup Stakes Handicap at 3.35 and Braveheart looks like he is serious about winning this, providing four of the fourteen strong field.
The one we like is Austrian School at 4-1.
Ultra consistent as a 3-y-o, better things are expected this season and this could be the horse’s last handicap before Group races beckon, so let’s take advantage.
That’s it – off to see how the investments on Neil Robertson and the Mumbai Indians are getting on.
Red Tornado 2.05 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)
Sumkindofking 2.40 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 13-2
Lygon Rock 3.15 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Hayadh 1.50 Musselburgh 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Austrian School 3.35 Musselburgh 2pts e/w @ 4-1 (4 places)