Tom looks over the racing at Haydock, Kempton and Meydan in search of value.
Plenty of horses will be looking forward to better ground at Haydock today and all of Alzammaar , Sykes and Oscar Blue make plenty of appeal. Preference is for the former though given the 5 year old is just 7lb higher than when winning a competitive 4yo Newbury handicap last March. He was put up with 9 other horses at his trainer’s yard as one to follow for the year and that list has produced plenty of winners. His Cheltenham form is strong and he shaped liked further on better ground would really suit last time at Doncaster. It could be that he isn’t a well treated horse but I’m willing to give him another chance with conditions to suit up in trip.
The 11f handicap at Kempton looks a good betting heat am I’m taken with the prices about both of David Simcock’s horses. Castillo Del Diablo may just want a little further but Whispering Warrior is back to 1lb above his last win and this looks his trip. He shaped well at Lingfield a few starts back off this mark and it could be worth forgiving runs at Chelmsford and Wolves either side. He won at Wolves when it was polytrack but tapeta may not be his thing and a return to Kempton - he was successful on his last start here - could well be a plus. Lots of maybes but I like Adam Kirby up top and there’s enough pace on to ensure he gets the test he’ll likely need.
This is speculative but I like the price about Thunder Sheik in the 2 mile handicap hurdle series final. He may look a little more exposed than some on the face of it but he is fairly treated on the basis of his Kempton win last November and is back in trip and back on good ground for the first time since. He found 2 miles 5 too far last time and his run at Lingfield after that winning return was easily forgivable given the ground. This is a step up in class but the team involved have had a good few weeks and I fancy he’ll outrun his price.
It’s a quite brilliant day of racing at Meydan, depth of class right across the card. As far as the likeliest winners go I fancy Postponed, Marking and Tryster could make a fearsome treble. There are some fancy prices to tuck into though, ever the aim here, and first up is Goldream in the Al Quoz sprint. He’s not the best horse in the race and I wonder if this 5 is on the sharp side for him but there is plenty in his favour. He is near perfectly drawn with Buffering, Ertijaal and Peniaphobia in close proximity. I doubt he’ll be able to lay up with them but he won’t be far away and likely doing his best work late on. For what it’s worth I struggle to see him beating Ertijaal but it’s a decent price about a King’s Stand and Prix L’Abbaye winner with that much needed prep run out here under his belt.
Caution really is being thrown to the wind in putting up Reynaldothewizard in the Golden Shaheen. Drawn 10 of 10 on the face of it isn’t ideal but given how he likes to be ridden and the manner of his G3 win over course and distance, it may be no bad thing. X Y Jet may fly from the off and not be caught but at least Reynaldothewizard will avoid any early skirmishing - there is ample pace on - and has a chance of picking up the pieces late on. He’ll need luck but he loves the dirt out here and should have this run to suit more than was the case last time. Super Jockey is another who could run a similar race and is half tempting at the prices.
I’d love to see California Chrome win the World Cup and in some ways he needs to. The farce of last year is best forgotten and no better way to do so than for a superstar to win the richest race in the world. However, from a betting perspective, California Chrome is a sit and watch job. He may be better this time around with a prep under his belt but he’s wide again and will likely have to cover plenty of ground. Given I can’t get the image of Prince Bishop storming home from the back last year out of my head, and with similar pace angles lining up this time around, Keen Ice has to be backed at a healthy price. He beat Frosted in the Travers and has a real chance here if they go hard up front. He was wide and very disappointing on Meydan bow last time but Ryan Moore suggested blinkers go on and he’s much better drawn here to lay up early and try and swoop late. He has technically just 1lb to find with Chrome on official ratings and I fancy we’ll see a far improved Keen Ice 2nd time up out here.