Not much decent racing this week – all waiting for next week no doubt, when I’m back at work! However, this one looked a possible, although even before I started I suspected that it would end up with a runner or two less than declared overnight – so far only one, so fingers crossed.
Haydock 16.10 Cl 3 Hcap 110 (87) 11.5f gd/fm – 8 Run (7 at best)
Last year – 91 (89) gd/sf – 6 ran
Marmajuke Bay 16/1 4-8-10 (84) Dr 4 by 22.5l from Mutadaffeq 9/4 4-9-0 (88) Dr 6
Stonific 5-9-1 (84) Dr 2
26 May Cl 4 Hcap (61 d) 10.5f gd Chest (85) 11/2 4l 4/8 off 84
Held up, ridden over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, not trouble leaders
Has been in good form on turf this year winning over 10.5f here in April and then winning over 14f at Thirsk a fortnight later; had too much to do after being held up at Chester lto and could never threaten the leaders over 10.5f on fast ground; the extra furlong likely to suit today and won on fast ground at Thirsk, although steps up in class today.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (18 days);
Minus: class (?); up in class;
Verdict: (45) better course for coming from off the pace as he showed in April, and a contender returned to this trip.
William Hunter 6-8-10 (79) Dr 1
This is just second start since undergoing wind surgery at the end of March and only middling form on the AW, while he’s yet to win in 3 hurdle starts; placed efforts of turf last season, mainly on softer ground, but won off 82 on gd at Ascot in the autumn of 2016; could be fancied on that running, especially as he runs off 3lbs lower today.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); course (F); trainer (14d); trainer (C); recent outing (21 days); down 2lbs;
Minus: not won since Sept 2016 (13 flat starts)
Verdict: (43) may have more to show on second run back after breathing operation, but will need to improve on his Kempton effort last month – not a strong contender.
New Society 4-9-4 (87) Dr 4
25 May Cl 4 Hcap (65 u) 12f gd Pont (80) 7/4 F 10l 1/6 off 77
Tracked leaders, headway 4f out, close up 3f out, led 2f out, ridden clear over 1f out, stayed on strongly
Shed his mdn tag over 14f at Redcar in May last year and runner-up on 2 further occasions from his 6 starts as a 3yo; back in the winner’s enclosure on his return at Catterick in April and then decimated the field at Pontefract a month later winning by 10l in a career best; not surprisingly, runs off a 10lbs higher mark today but may be more attuned for his second start in this class, providing he can handle the faster ground.
Plus: distance (W); trainer (C); form run lto (19 days); career best lto;
Minus: class; going; course; up 10lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (38) improving sort and even a rise in class off a 10lbs higher mark may not slow his progress, a contender.
Twadeea 6-9-4 (87) Dr 7
Won the Old Newton Cup on sf here in 2016 off a mark of 95, before going on to win off 102 at Leicester in the autumn; things went south last season though as his mark dropped from 106 to 98 when he ran down the field in the Cesarewitch; underwent wind surgery in February, since which he has put in a pair of modest performances off a falling mark; down another 2lbs today but one suspects it’s not weight but desire that’s holding him back.
Plus: class (W+); going (F); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); recent outing (18 days); down 2lbs;
Minus: not won since Oct 2016 (14 starts);
Verdict: (36) back class to win with ease, but until he gives an inkling of a return to for must be regarded as a contender with major questions.
Sky Marshal 4-8-7 (76) Dr 8
18 May Cl 5 Hcap (48 u) 12f gd/fm Newb (75) 6/1 0.05l 2/13 off 69
Looked well, held up towards rear, steady progress from over 3f out, ridden for strong challenge over 1f out, every chance throughout final furlong, just held
Much improvement to record a hat-trick of hcap wins over 12/13f on the AW this past winter and then was only just denied on his return to turf at Newbury last month coming back from an 83-day break with a career best; however, that was much lower class and steps up today off a 7lbs higher mark.
Plus: going (F); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (26 days); career best lto;
Minus: class (?); course (?); up 7lbvs; up 2 classes;
Verdict: (36) rapidly improving sort at lower levels but steps up in quality of opposition, but a potential contender nonetheless.
I should have known of course, but there has been of course the obligatory non-runner for any handicap with 8 declared runners. Still, having done much of the hard work before I found out, I might just as well carry on. Looking at the past 7 renewals it seems that 4yos with recent form and carrying 9-0 or more have done the best. There has been one 5yo winner, but nothing older and I feel that both William Hunter and Tawdeea now have something to prove, so they join the already sidelined Magellan who is making his season return today. That leaves Stonific, New Society and Sky Marshal, all of which are going up at least a class, as my most likely trio. Normal problem of sorting the order out but am inclined to go for New Society from Stonific and Sky Marshal.
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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