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Old Borough Cup preview

If the rain holds off at Haydock overnight, we're in for a great day of racing with the Sprint Cup and the Old Borough Cup. This Old Borough Cup preview is brought to you by Sam Darby of sports betting community site OLBG.com where members discuss and share their best bets, competing for a share of £5,000 in monthly cash prizes. Follow @OLBG for free tips.

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Haydock Old Borough Cup Preview

This Old Borough Cup preview is brought to you by Sam Darby of sports betting community site OLBG.comwhere members discuss and share their best bets, competing for a share of £5,000 in monthly cash prizes. Follow @OLBG for free tips.

Good to soft going at the time of writing with a little more rain forecast so conditions are likely to be testing. Mark Johnston has been the man to follow in this race in the past decade with 4 winners including Sir Graham Wade last year. Horses older than 5 have struggled with only one winner coming above that age in the last ten years which could rule out up to 6 horses this year. With no 3yos in the race the 4yos and 5yos should be the main focus.

Pallasator

Unraced this season but won three of four starts last season, including course and distance handicap win on latest start. That win came on heavy ground and cut is thought to be important to this runner who missed the Ebor because the ground was good to firm at the declaration stage. His last run worked out well with the 2nd home winning next time out and likely to have improved over the winter but his well being after an absence of almost a year has to be taken on trust in such a competitive race.

Oriental Fox

Not the most consistent but certainly has chances on his best form. One of two runners for Mark Johnston who does well in this event and should have conditions perfectly in his favour but does have to improve or see others fail to give their running to get his head in front having been beaten off lower marks in 8 previous runs in this country.

Tropical Beat

Well backed for the Ebor before being withdrawn due to soft going (despite having run well on good to soft once in the past) so the recent rain will be a major concern to trainer David O’Meara. Looks to have been laid out for one of these big late season staying handicaps having only made his seasonal debut a month ago. On that occasion he did best of the hold up horses behind Party Line who ran very well at the Ebor meeting next time out. The more rain the more his chance will be compromised but respected if allowed to take his chance.

Gassin Golf

An interesting contender for jumps trainer Richard Lee as he was a progressive flat stayer last season for Sir Mark Prescott. Only beaten by the progressive Rumh when last season on the flat and conditions should be fine. Reportedly struggles to go past the leader and that is backed up by his form figures (hasn’t won on last 8 starts but finished 2nd on 5 occasions in that run). Also a concern that he hasn’t been seen on the track since the Punchestown Festival in April so only really appeals as a horse to stick in a forecast at a price.

Clowance Estate

Lightly raced 4yo for Roger Charlton and has largely run well in this season. Won a maiden and then ran well in a handicap that worked out well at Windsor on his next start. A bit of a blip next time at Goodwood over this trip on first run on good to soft ground but ran well when third at Newmarket 2 weeks ago on that same ground, suggesting that the poor run at Goodwood might have been down to the track or just an off day. Capable of going well but might not want the ground much softer than good.

Suraj

Well beaten on three of his four starts this season but interesting that by far his best run this term can with cut in the ground when finishing 3rd to Harris Tweed at Glorious Goodwood (beat Clowance Estate by almost 2 lengths and is now 2lbs better off). Best runs last season also coincided with cut in the ground and even ran well in hot race on heavy ground here when rated 6lbs higher. Could go well at a price if the ground is soft or worse.

Blue Bajan

Not the force of old but well handicapped on several bits of form from the past 12 months, including when very unlucky in this race year last year on firm ground off a 6lb higher mark. Trainer David O’Meara, who also has Tropical Beat in the race, thinks the horse is better on decent ground but has won a Group 2 on good to soft ground. Cheekpieces seemed to help a little last time and drop in trip and David Bergin claiming 5 could also help but appeals more for place betting than win purposes with last win coming two and a half years ago.

Kiama Bay

Dropped 20lbs during cold spell starting this time two years ago but returned to form in August with two wins followed by a close third in tough 12f York Handicap at the Ebor meeting. Needs cut in the ground to be seen to his best but best runs seem to coincide with that 12f trip despite having been tried over further many times and having climbed back up in the weights is now 8lbs higher than last winning mark. Has run well in past handicaps off slightly higher marks but combination of distance and handicap mark make him an unlikely winner.

Platinum

Big improver since returning to the flat in May with 3 wins and 2nd from 5 starts. Latest win came in only fair race over 2 miles so certainly won’t be beaten for stamina but now upped two classes in grade as well as 9lbs in the weights. Conditions should be fine (has won on good to firm and soft ground this season) but serious class issues for a horse that was well beaten in claimers in February and short enough in the betting because of that.

Semeen

Won three of his last four starts and usual Luca Cumani improver but a 7lb rise for a close win last time out looks harsh but more of a concern here could be the ground. Luca Cumani has previously stated that he likes fast ground and his full brother Danadana is much better on faster going. The distance is also a question mark having only raced as far as 12f and on all three runs at that distance he hardly looked to be crying out for further. If allowed to take his chance on ground softer than good looks one of the best horses of the day to take on. NON RUNNER.

Scatter Dice

Becoming more and more unpredictable and could be forgiven for throwing in the towel on her 13th start of the season. However she is very interesting on several angles. The key to this horse could be cut in the ground, she’s run well many times on fast ground but won her first two starts on good to soft ground before waiting a year to race on that ground again when finishing 5th in the Northumberland Plate, her stamina only giving out in the final couple of furlongs. Her last two runs have also come on good to soft and she’s been narrowly beaten by Kiama Bay both times but is weighted to reverse that form, plus she has potential to improve going back up beyond 12f having run really well on all three starts over further than that trip off marks in the 90s. Should have few problems beating Kiama Bay yet is around twice the price with some bookies.

Itlaaq

Back down to his last winning mark of 88 but that win came in a much weaker race and his best form usually comes on good to firm ground (despite a quick glance at his win record suggesting good or softer is best), often at York. A combination of conditions and class should find Itlaaq out but he may be of interest again this season back at York.

Cousin Khee

As the mount of Ryan Moore, Cousin Khee has to be of some interest as this gelding was a little unlucky last time out over 2 miles at Kempton. He has a great record on the polytrack but also runs well on good to soft ground having won earlier in the season at York in those conditions off an 8lb lower mark. Steps up to class 3 handicaps seem to have found this horse out each time though this season so despite being lightly raced on the flat he could have already found his level.

Nanton

There probably wouldn’t be a more popular winner than this 11yo having his 95th start under rules. He won two starts ago and likes a good pace to aim at but ran very poorly last time out in ideal conditions and will be one of those that suffers the most with every drop of rain having never won on softer than good in his long career.

Poyle Thomas

Very lightly raced 4yo who only made his debut this season, a 5lb rise for winning a small field but competitive handicap last time out may underestimate his ability. The step up to 13f on that occasion seemed to suit so another furlong here is a plus and it is worth noting he beat Statutory on that occasion, Statutory won very easily next time out, albeit upped in trip himself. Raced mainly on good to firm so far therefore any rain puts serious question marks over him but looks a strong contender based on all other criteria and the trainer has stated that softish ground, whilst not preferred, isn’t the end of the world.

Wyborne

Has run very poorly in 3 of his last 5 runs, including when last at York a couple of weeks ago. Slightly softer ground likely to help but looks to have little in hand from this mark unless the ground turns bottomless and many others fail to give their running.

Verdict

Despite a going change since the 48 hour declarations plenty will appreciate the likely ground. Pallasator looks by far the most likely winner with connections making the right noises about his fitness but he is short enough in the betting now so much better value should come from Scatter Dice at the other end of the market. She’s well exposed but has conditions perfectly to suit and her run at Salisbury earlier in the season is amongst the best pieces of form on offer in the context of this race. Being a prominent racer in testing ground at Haydock is never a disadvantage and considering she is the same price to place (at the time of writing) as Pallasator is to win she has to be the best bet but it is worth covering some forecasts with Pallasator as the winner.

1. Pallasator
2. Scatter Dice
3. Oriental Fox
4. Suraj

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