Racing from three Grade 1 tracks on the box today, with the main action from Haydock, where the ground will be hock deep.
First up is the Casumo Handicap at 1.55, which has a field of 12, headed by Molls Memory at 4-1.
There is little doubt that Ed Walker‘s mare is a stone better when the mud is flying, so her excellent 5th of 18 at York on good ground just eight days ago implies she is approaching her best, which saw her land a Newbury handicap last season off today’s mark. With a certain Mr Murphy booked, we look no further for our selection and recommend a sneaky each way bet.
The Casumo App Handicap at 2.25 over 2 miles might take a bit of getting(!) and it would be a tremendous feat for Venetia Williams‘ Green Book to repeat it’s Chester all-the-way win off a 10lb higher mark.
Unlucky horse in that race was undoubtedly Speedo Boy, denied a run until all too late and now armed with a substantial pull in the weights. Winner of a Listed race in France described as ‘very soft’, we can’t resist an each way bet on Ian Williams‘s charge at a juicy 18-1.
We also like the chances of Vindolanda, trained by Charles Hills. This 5-y-o progressed well last season, winning twice and showing a liking for the deep stuff in the process. Her comeback run (on the AW) can be discounted as the bit slipped through her mouth, but the exercise will have been useful. Off just a pound higher than her latest victory, we suggest going each way at 11-1.
The Silver Bowl Handicap at 3.00 has many potential improvers in it, but we think Master Zoffany is overpriced at 11-1, after winning at Chester without coming off the bridle. A 6lb higher mark wouldn’t have stopped it there and hopefully won’t stop it today. Have an each way bet, please.
The Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at 3.35 has the unbeaten Dragon Symbol installed as favourite at 7-2, but we feel that, after three wins on the All Weather and one win on good-to-firm, Archie Watson‘s star will find today a very different cauldron of tuna.
We prefer to back Isabella Giles each way at 8-1.
Clive Cox‘s filly is already a Group 2 and Group 3 winner from last year and ran a cracker against the boys last time out at Leafy. That she stays 7f is no bad thing on today’s surface and she should give Hector Crouch a great spin.
The Group 2 Temple Stakes at 4.10 has just six runners, but with John Quinn supplying the first two in the betting and professing not to be able to choose between them, we are going to apply the Spanish Archer to this race and move on to Goodwood and the 1.40.
Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid the obvious and this is the case with this handicap. Prince Alex improved throughout its first season, winning 5 handicaps in succession, improving its rating from 63 to 86 in the process. An opening close 4th on reappearance illustrated that more progress is very likely and we recommend a bet at 13-8.
The other televised race from Sussex is the Listed Festival Stakes at 2.10 which has just 4 runners and may well become very tactical. We think that Desert Encounter has the best credentials to cope and suggest a bet at 15-8.
Finally to York and the Group 3 Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes, in which we think Mighty Blue has outstanding claims.
Joseph O’Brien‘s raider was a facile winner of a Listed race at Gowran Park earlier this month under Dylan Browne McMonagle (about whom it’s said: “Who?”).
No, we don’t know, either, but he can ride a bit and can bring this one home at 3-1.
Molls Memory 1.55 Haydock 1.5pts e/w @ 4-1
Speedo Boy 2.25 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 18-1
Vindolanda 2.25 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 11-1
Master Zoffany 3.00 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 11-1
Isabella Giles 3.35 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Prince Alex 1.40 Goodwood 4pts win @ 13-8
Desert Encounter 2.10 Goodwood 2pts win @ 15-8
Mighty Blue 2.40 York 2pts win @ 3-1