The Future Feature - Haydock on Saturday
It’s a Group 1 Saturday at Haydock and Leopardstown with the Sprint Cup taking centre stage domestically and a whole host of cracking races on the supporting cards. Added interest in the feature will be from those Fallon followers playing up their winnings / losses from Friday on his first British Group 1 mount for over three years.
That said, in the terms of a genuine Group 1 race, it must be said that the line up does seem awfully weak. The horse that will be attracting the most attention is the aforementioned High Standing, the William Haggas trained Wokingham winner who stepped up in grade to land a Group 3 last time out. He was impressive that day and recorded an excellent speed figure in the conditions, so it would be very disappointing if the Harry Findlay owned animal couldn’t step up to this level against some admittedly average opposition.
His big challenger is Fleeting Spirit, whose biggest challenge is probably an abundance of H20 in the Liverpool area. She is probably the fastest horse in Britain on genuinely good to firm ground and has seven pounds on her main market rival on official ratings. The 57 day break is also in her favour as she is probably half a stone better when fresh and too much racing clearly takes the sparkle off this very talented filly. However, the big question mark is the ground. The new Haydock sprint course is a wonderful creation and the drainage is approximately 10,000 times better than that of the round course, yet the weather has been consistently bad for several weeks now and that extra point on her price in the betting (on form, she should really be vying for favouritism) is the backers reward for that uncertainty.
There are no end of interesting horses who could outrun their odds, including last year’s Morny winner Bushranger, who still has to conclusively prove that he has trained on, and Regal Parade, who has progressed nicely from decent handicapper to Group 2 placed runner on its last two starts, but the trip will probably be on the sharp side for him.
Main Aim will have a squeak, and the easing of the ground would certainly give his supporters hope of reversing the form, not to mention the fact that the wayward fillies crazed lunge towards the stands impeded him quite markedly on their last meeting.
However, It really is hard to look away from the top two in the market and the advice would have to be to monitor the ground. If the sprint course is on the soft side, HIGH STANDING will take some real beating, but if it does speed up overnight then they won’t see which way FLEETING SPIRIT goes.
The rest of the days racing is nothing short of staggering. The Leopardstown card is spectacular with two Group 1’s for punters to savour and the big question mark hanging over the participation of Sea The Stars in the Irish Champion. If he does swerve the race, many punters will pile into Fame and Glory as the horse was racing on his own. Yet the fascinating decision to swerve the Prix Moulin on Sunday with MASTERCRAFTSMAN and take his chance at Leopardstown could well pay dividends for jockey Seamie Heffernan. The horse seemed to improve for the step up in trip at York and got a hell of a lot closer to beating John Oxx’s superstar than Fame and Glory ever did at Epsom.
At a bigger price, ROCK AND ROLL KID is a fascinating Irish raider at Haydock in the Listed Superior Mile at 2.25. His form over seven furlongs or a mile in soft ground reads 11421 and he destroyed a top class field of Irish handicappers in grand style at the Galway Festival. He was drawn in box one that day, a berth he really shouldn’t have been able to win from, and he pulled away from a who’s who of top milers as if they weren’t even there. It’s obviously a shame that Danny Mullins can’t claim his usual allowance, but he gets on very well with this improving four year old and it’s hard to see which of the rest of the field will actually handle conditions.
Whatever happens on Saturday, it’s bound to be a wonderful days racing in both Britain and Ireland and you can catch every single race live on William Hill Radio.