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The big race of the day is the Haydock Park Sprint Cup at 2.25 and with the recent inclement weather this now looks a hugely open contest and the value call could be to side with GROWL at an each-way price.
Richard Fahey’s runner wouldn’t be anywhere near a match for the likes of Blue Point, Harry Angel and The Tin Man on good ground, but we are likely to be bordering on heavy ground and it cannot be deep enough for this son of Oasis Dream.
On similar ground he was beaten over eight lengths by Tasleet in the Duke of York Stakes, but that was his opening start of the season and he got badly hampered early on as well.
The latter is probably his biggest rival on this ground, but at around the 25/1 shot the selection merits outstanding each-way value in this Group One contest.
A mile-and-a-quarter on deep ground is exactly what EMPRESS ALI (nb) needs and although victory in the opening fillies’ handicap at 1.20 would require a career best effort, she comes here on great form having seen off Indulged and company at Nottingham.
Later on at the Lancashire track, CONFESSIONAL can land another course success by taking the 3.00. The old boy has been in good form of late, won’t mind the ground and gets a narrow vote over the likes of the four-timer seeking Holmeswood, Mayleaf Shine and the classy top-weight Green Door; the latter may be worth a saver and a forecast mixer.
COMPTON MILL runs over a mile and six for the first time in the 4.10, but is up against mainly exposed performers and has a light-weight to carry.
WINSTON C could be the call in the three-year-old 14f handicap at 4.45. He still looks fairly well treated off a rating of just 88 and as this will be just his second start over the distance and his eighth in total he is open to further improvement.
Testing ground will also prevail at Ascot and that should benefit two old timers in the big seven furlong handicap due off at 2.45, namely Heaven’s Guest and BERTIEWHITTLE.
The latter looked sure to prevail in the Ladies handicap on King George’s day until run out of it close to home and the more rain the better for him. Of the market leaders, Birchwood and Squats both have solid claims.
At Thirsk, the well handicapped SECRET MISSILE (NAP) can outstay his rivals in the 6f handicap at 4.40. His mark has plummeted in the last 14 months, a full 18lbs lower than when he last visited the winner’s enclosure, and he looks set to strike gold again.
Back down to a mark of 83, ICEFALL looks the value call in the mile-and-a-half handicap at 5.15.
Finally, on the all-weather at Kempton Park, I shall be having a lumpy each-way play on THE WARRIOR in the London Mile Handicap at 3.15.
He has a really outstanding record at the Sunbury-on-Thames track and at an each-way price is preferred to the in-form Brilliant Vanguard.
Over at Wolverhampton, RAVENHOE should defy top-weight in division two of the extended mile handicap at 5.25, while MARAAKIB looks outstandingly well-treated in the extended nine furlong event due off at 6.00.
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