Top sprinter HARRY ANGEL returns to Haydock this weekend with a point to prove after injuring himself coming out of the stalls at Royal Ascot back in June.
Clive Cox’s speedy colt will defend the Sprint Cup and try to emulate Be Friendly who is the only horse to have won Haydock’s biggest Flat race more than once.
Three-year-olds may have dominated this race in recent seasons, but they have to be good enough and it’s hard to be convinced over any of the Classic generation this time around. GUSTAV KLIMT has the potential to really enjoy a drop back to sprinting and SPEAK IN COLOURS could have a say, but Maurice de Gheest second JAMES GARFIELD does look the pick of the younger generation.
However, the established sprinters in this year’s race are seriously good performers on their day and while the favourite HARRY ANGEL is the most likely winner if resuming close to his best, BRANDO may be the value bet to rule a talented mob.
He has something to find on most recent showing when a rather sluggish eighth of 20 in the Gheest – a race he’d won last season – but the suggestion is he wasn’t on the best part of the track that day. Kevin Ryan’s charge was at his smooth-travelling best when second in the July Cup previously and on that showing he’s a massive player at 8/1 with Carrigill’s.
He was no good in this 12 months ago but has won at the track earlier in his career and when he’s on song he is right at home in this company. If the jolly doesn’t quite fire expect him to be right there to pick up the pieces.
Record-breaking trainer Mark Johnston sends out SEA YOUMZAIN in the opener and she has looked an out and out stayer and stepped up to 1m 6f last time out. Haydock will suit this lightly raced galloper who is still open to improvement and she’s too big at 20’s.
Down at Ascot in-form trainer Andrew Balding can build on an impressive August during which punters would have made £61 to £1 level stakes backing all of his 30 runners last month thanks to a 24% strike rate.
He sends out BERKSHIRE ROYAL in the Lavazza Stakes at 3.55 and this son of Sir Percy can land the king’s share of the £100,000 on offer.
There’s a good card at York on Sunday which includes the Listed Garrowby Stakes over 6f at 2.55 where a revived LIMATO will take some beating if he opts for the Knavesmire rather than going to Haydock. But course and distance winner CULTURATI also makes each-way appeal and comes off an eye-catching fourth over 5 1/2f during the Ebor meeting. Charlie Appleby’s lightly raced five-year-old will also appreciate the expected rain.
Jason Ward is having his year as trainer and his KING’S PAVILLION is due a big run – he’s entered in a fiercely competitive handicap over 1m2f ahead of the Garrowby at 2.20. It’s a warm affair and George Margarson’s progressive PROTECTED GUEST has plenty of scope and looks like one to follow this year and next.
Another one to stay with is FINAL VENTURE who blew the start in the Beverley Bullet last Saturday and off a mark of 104 looks a good thing for the Portland Handicap at Doncaster next week.
CARRIGILL’S NAP: (Stake returned as a free bet if selection does not finish in the top 4): THREADING, Saturday, Haydock, 2.25.
AUGUR’S BEST BET:
CULTURATI, Sunday, York, 2.55.