This time last year I was recovering from ankle surgery and was brightened up by a magnificent round of jumping by the legend that is Kauto Star wiping the floor with his rivals in the Betfair chase. I love the picture above of one of his awesome jumps that day – just look how extended he is – what a horse. It's fitting that a statue has been cast of him, and why not, he's the best NH horse in my lifetime! Today sadly there is no legend but there is a chance for a new legend to be born, keep reading below for my tip for the race and my other bets.
I'm putting my well earned coins into two Lucky 15's today that incorporate a couple of decent priced outsiders too. The heavy ground (and it's banging it down at Ascot as I type this) is a real leveller of form, especially around a gruelling circuit like Haydock.
Here's the first and main one :
Lamb or Cod 12.55 Haydock (nap) – (unplaced) was impressive last time out at Chepstow under this jockey and he has been raised 6lbs for that. He has bags of scope and I reckon will improve again and beat these today. Black Thunder is the danger but I'm not having 3-1 in this competitive field.
Merigo 1400 Haydock (nb) – (unplaced) I love this horse and whilst he seems to be better in the spring he is an out and out stayer and three miles today in this ground will feel like four. He has won on heavy over 3 and 4 miles, and Timmy Murphy rides him so well. He could be the forgotten horse here today and is a great each way chance. Check out this photo of him from last year before his Scottish National success – he's just saying look how good I am
Holywell 1430 Haydock (treble) – (2nd – 10-1) has been crying out for this extended trip and I thought he ran a cracker last time at Aintree if given a little too much to do. I can see him staying on in the last few furlongs and takng this.
Silviniaco Conti 1505 Haydock – (Won 7-4) this horse was ultra impressive in the Charlie Hall and could be the next star out of the Nicholls yard. Any horse that wins at Wetherby is more than able of winning at Haydock as the tracks are so alike. Long Run is not the same horse as his Gold Cup winning year as proved last year and to be frank he never will be with Waley-Cohen on board.
The second Lucky 15 is below :
Petitfour 1540 Haydock – (unplaced) goes very well fresh and will appreciate this slog, has a good engine and should stay well and be involved. Has been backed a bit this morning too. Better over hurdles but I'll take a chance on him.
For Non Stop 1410 Ascot – (2nd 100-30) you couldn't be anything but impressed with his commanding victory in the Old Roan Chase and while Finian's Rainbow has undoubted class, the four pound pull on what will be heavy ground may take its toll
Balbriggan 1310 Ascot – (3rd 9-4) was impressive at Bangor last time and this increased trip shoud help and he is a potential improver. Mick Channon has started off well since taking Henrietta Knight's string.
Drawnfromthepast 1425 Lingfield – (3rd 3–1) one of my old favourites who has won me some big money at big prices. Is ultra consistent at the moment and whilst stall 9 isn't ideal today he will run on to at least a place. He's been really unlucky the last few and just got pipped, I'm hoping his luck will change today.
There will go then, hope I've identified a few winners and if you are having a bet please do so within your means. Kick back and enjoy this great feast of racing today.