Our first televised race sees thirteen go to post for a class three handicap over twenty eight furlongs. Fourovakind is the early market leader and on first glance comes in to this race in good form with one win and three thirds from his last four races. However he was well beaten in each of the three placed efforts and his only win over fences came on heavy ground over three miles.
Woodford County was only a neck away from winning this race last year and has been performing well with two placed efforts in the Midlands Grand National and Betfred Eider this year. He is eased in grade here and although 6lbs higher than this race last year looks a good each way option at current odds of around 6/1.
Union Jack D’ycy looks to be a difficult horse to get right. He has a 42% strike rate for top three finishes but never got involved last time out and was pulled up. He has the ability to get involved if arriving here on a good day but has a three month break to overcome and hasn’t always run well after a break previously so may be best watched today.
Woodford County (E/W if 5/1+)
Outback Traveller appears to be the obvious starting point in this seven furlong handicap. A 50% career win strike rate and an impressive seven length winner when last seen at Ascot in October, he ran a close second returning from an almost identical break last year so the length of time away from the track shouldn’t be a concern.
Mr Bossy Boots has won three from four over todays’ trip and looks to be the main danger. He is up 5lbs for a convincing win at Lingfield in January, finishing strongly and looking like he had a bit in hand, although is yet to follow up on any previous win.
Speculative Bid and Triple Chocolate are both course and distance winners and both arrive here on the back of wins last time out.
Outback Traveller (WIN)
A fiercely competitive class two handicap sees sixteen scheduled to go to post with many of the field proven over todays’ trip.
Upswing is the likely market leader and will no doubt be popular with many punters due to the soon to be retiring AP McCoy in the saddle. He finished second to Gold Futures when last seen but races in a visor today and this could help to make the difference here.
The aforementioned Gold Futures has to go on the shortlist as he has won four from nine over hurdles and has only been raised 4lbs for the victory over Upswing.
Southfield Vic bids for a hat-trick after winning twice over twenty two furlongs at Wincanton in recent months. He is passed over today as his only other career victory came over twenty five furlongs and I feel he may struggle over the shorter distance today.
A rather tentative selection goes to Spanish Fleet who finished behind both Upswing and Gold Futures last time out but races off the same mark today and has a 50% win rate over todays’ trip. He has an impressive overall career strike rate of 66% for top three finishes over hurdles and should be able to at least finish in the places again today.
Spanish Fleet (E/W)
Queen Catrine looks likely to head the market but has only won one from twelve and that win came over six furlongs. She has attempted a mile on four previous occasions without success and today sees her move away from turf for the first time. The switch could be exactly what she needs but with no form to go off on the all-weather I think the odds are on the short side.
Semaral is a multiple course and distance winner and although steps up to listed company for the first time she won pretty impressively last time out and both third and fourth that day have gone on to win since. She has only failed to place in one of her last seven races and could easily outrun her odds today.
Of the remainder, Lady Dutch was a convincing two length winner on her only previous run over course and distance so has to be respected.
Yet another competitive handicap here at Haydock. Virak has course form and is proven over todays’ race distance so has to be respected. He hasn’t been seen at his best in his last two runs but notched up a hat-trick towards the back end of last year and it would be no surprise to see him back to his best here.
King Of The Wolds bounced back from a couple of poor efforts to record a five length win at Ayr last month. He has a strike rate over 50% for top two finishes and although has gone back up to a joint career high mark he has placed off this mark previously.
Algernon Pazham had never finished outside the first two when racing over jumps before refusing a fence when well beaten over todays’ trip at Uttoxeter last month. If returning to prior form he could prove to be a major player here.
Astigos has yet to win in nineteen attempts but has finished second six times and finished third a further six. He was very close to gaining his first win at Cheltenham in January when only going down by a neck and the form received a huge boost when third from that race, Irish Cavalier, went on to win at the festival last month.
Astigos (E/W if 5/1+)
The switch from turf to all-weather gave Made With Love his first career victory, a five length course and distance win (albeit at odds of 1/7) in December. Prior to that he had two placed efforts at Newmarket last summer so obviously has some ability. However, very little has come out of any of these races and one of the placed efforts saw him get overturned at odds of 2/11 so the step up in grade could cause problems for him today.
Spiritual Star is proven over track and trip and has a 46% strike rate for top three finishes when racing on an all-weather surface. However, he has raced off his current mark on three occasions and has finished outside the places each time and is still 5lbs higher than his last winning mark.
George Guru has a 45% all-weather strike rate for top three finishes and although has been largely disappointing over the winter he has shown some improvement in his last two runs. His last win came almost exactly twelve months ago off a 10lbs higher mark over todays’ trip, so could be worth a play at larger odds.
George Guru (E/W)
Our final TV race is no easier to decipher than the previous two here at Haydock. Canuspotit has won over todays’ trip and ran a credible third off a career high mark when last seen at Kempton last month. He is re-united with jockey Leighton Aspell who was in the saddle for his last two victories so another bold run looks likely.
Dare To Endeavour is 4lbs higher than his last winning mark but runs in first time blinkers today and with previous wins on heavy ground he could be the main one to benefit from any further rain.
Sergeant Pink splits his time between flat and jumps and is the model of consistency with a strike rate of 46% for top three finishes over jumps. He finished a close second at Market Rasen last month and runs off the same mark today, although has attempted todays’ trip twice without success and is yet to record a win here at Haydock.
This season has seen a big improvement from Comeonginger who has now won three from four since October. He signed off last season with a victory to bring his overall record to four wins from his last five and still looks to be progressing so is the choice to round off our TV tips.