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Haydock meeting preview

Not long left for the jumps season in the UK but there's a decent card at Haydock tomorrow. It's BetVictor day, so it's only fair I give them a plug in the form of regular contributor Jack Milner, @jjmsports, one of their content guys. And you can read plenty of his work on his blog.

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Haydock hold a fantastic National Hunt card on Saturday, with the twilight phase of this sphere still producing quality cards, with BetVictor Day proving to be a treat.

Handy Andy will be a warm favourite in the first, a three and a half mile handicap chase, not for the faint hearted, but he is vulnerable up 10lb for his win over Chartreaux last time out. Monsieur Cadou and Captain Americo are lightly raced sorts that can improve but the form selection looks to be Rhum for the in form team of Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies. The eight year old was back to his best last time out, winning cosily at Wincanton over an extended three miles, and looked better the further he went. He is up only 3lb, despite good form in behind through Big Occasion and Alderluck, and with the stable flying, he looks a confident pick.

The two and a half mile handicap hurdle is a very strong renewal, with a bumper field of twenty runners competing. Veloce could be a player for leading connections if he has his act together, but looks fairly temperamental, as does Landscape of Paul Nicholls. Brian Ellison has five, David O’ Meara has two, but the one stand out entry is Leader of the Gang for AP McCoy and David Pipe, who was a narrowly beaten favourite last time out at Sandown. He is still extremely unexposed, only ever having run in five hurdle races, and his mark of 121 still looks fairly lenient. It’s not flashy given he is likely to be a short price, but he is the clearly well handicapped pick. Any money for a Brian Ellison runner has to be taken very seriously indeed.

The feature race is a class 2 two and a half mile handicap chase, where Pepite Rose of Venetia Williams has been well backed in the week, and the mare should be a leading player if turning up on her best form. Cloudy Too and Shoegazer look harshly treated at the weights, and it could be those at the bottom of the handicap who can take advantage. One such horse could be Triptico for Evan Williams and Paul Moloney, and the unexposed seven year old could prove something of a shock. He was a good second last time out, given not the best ride by claimer Adam Wedge, staying on late, when the bird has seemingly flown. His previous best effort was over the same trip, when routing a field at Chepstow in December, and there have been plenty of winners in behind. He has only had four runs over fences, and is entitled to improve. Brunswick Gold would be another fancy at a price, being too big at around the 14/1 mark.

Another potentially trappy handicap chase in the 3.50, with sixteen runners going over two and three quarter miles, and Ballinroab is expected to make the market for Jonjo O’ Niell and AP McCoy. The form of his last win has worked out well, but a stiff 10lb rise could hinder him, although further improvement would be no surprise. The two top weights make most appeal, both winning last time out over similar trips. Frontier Spirit defied top weight over the same trip at Newbury last week, and only up 5lb, the stable form is something to make note of, and he is fancied. As is Rouge Et Blanc for Oliver Sherwood and talented claimer Thomas Garner, who takes off a valuable 7lb. Wins at Huntingdon have seen him up 23lb in the handicap, and that may scupper his bid of the hatrick.

Another difficult handicap, and although Moscow Presents could be a very unexposed animal for the McCain team, the way Tornado In Milan won last time out after being absolutely smashed up suggests he is extremely well handicapped for Evan Williams and Paul Moloney. His win at Plumpton sees him raised 8lb for a 5 lengths win, he has form tied in with Home Run, Mr Mole and other 130 rated handicappers, and looks absolutely chucked in. The step up in trip should suit on pedigree, and the ground will pose no problems. I’ve followed Big Society off a cliff in recent runs, so him hacking up would really hurt.

14.05 Haydock – Rhum

14.40 Haydock – Leader of the Gang

15.15 Haydock – Triptico

15.50 Haydock – Frontier Spirit

16.25 Haydock – Tornado in Milan (Nap)

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