Henry Candy’s plans to bring LIMATO back to the racecourse in tomorrow’s (Saturday) Sprint Cup at Haydock have once again been scuppered by the weather.
Haydock has seen 19mm of rain already this week with more forecast, and Candy said: “It is very doubtful he’ll run at Haydock. He’s in good form, but I think the ground will be too soft and there’s more rain forecast.”
Limato, who had been as short as 7-1, also holds an entry in the Garrowby Stakes at York on Sunday, but Candy added: “Unfortunately, I think the same applies to York on Sunday, which is a shame, as that would have been a nice race for him as he didn’t have a penalty in that.”
With the ground already officially good-to-soft, Haydock announced on Wednesday that the £260,000 contest will be brought forward and run as the third race on Saturday at 2.25 to ensure the freshest ground.
Favourite HARRY ANGEL won the Mill Reef on similar ground as a two-year-old but Godolphin’s BLUEPOINT, albeit untested on soft, beat the jolly by a length-and-a-half at Ascot in May in a Group 3 and has to be respected.
Charlie Hills likes MAGICAL MEMORY’S chances. He was a close third two years ago and ran a good race on soft when winning the Hackwood Stakes, and the Lambourn handler said: “We think we’ve got him back where he needs to be but we’ll see whether he’s good enough to win a Group 1.”
My each-way pick is TASLEET for Yorkshire-born trainer William Haggas, who won the Duke of York on a soft Knavesmire in May and will relish a flat track. Mark Johnstone’s TIME TO STUDY likes some cut and is likely to turn up in one of the 1m6f handicaps and should form part of your weekend race swotting.
Meanwhile, officials at the Curragh remain upbeat about the condition of the track ahead of day two of the Irish Champions Weekend on Sunday.
The ground is currently soft on the straight course and yielding-to-soft on the round course after 12mm of rain fell at the County Kildare venue overnight on Monday.
EMINENT goes there with a fighting chance of spoiling Aidan O’Brien’s hopes of gaining an eighth win in the Irish Champions Stakes (6.45)
He does of course have ground to make up on Churchill on 2,000 Guineas form but things didn’t really pan out for him that day when he was given a tactical, hold-up ride. But I expect six-time race winner Frankie Dettori to kick on and let Eminent use his stride this time.
O’Brien’s WINTER looks a shoe-in for the Matron (5.35), and despite following the inconsistent COTAI GLORY off a cliff this season I will throw more each-way dough at him in the Flying Five Stakes (3.05).
Back in the White Rose county the unexposed HEE HAW can defy the weights to win York’s closer at 5.20, while Richard Fahey can have another touch in the 3.00 with DON’T TOUCH.
CARRIGILL’S NAP (stake returned in a free bet if finishes outside top 4): BLUEPOINT Saturday, Haydock, 2.25
AUGUR’S BEST BET: COTAI GLORY e/w Sunday, The Curragh, 3.05