13:15 Haydock

HI MEH DARLING (best price 11-2) remains a maiden after nine starts but the way in which she’s acquitted herself in stronger events than this suggests her turn might be near back down in class and she’s worth an each-way interest at the forecast odds. 

This filly by Holy Roman Emperor has been the bridesmaid on five separate occasions but a rating of 73 has seriously underestimated her in the context of this assignment given she’s chased home multiple subsequent winners and has been there or thereabouts in a pair of class 3’s the last two times including at York last time when faring best of those drawn high in another nursery. The last time she competed in a class 5 was when chasing home the 82-rated Come Quick at Carlisle and, although she’s more exposed than most, she might be able to utilise this easier opportunity to gain an overdue success for her Scottish-based handler with first-time headgear applied which should sharpen up her awareness. 

Hi Meh Darling - 0.5pts e/w @ 11/2

13:45 Haydock

The Michael Dods-trained AZURE BLUE (best price 11-2) has reached the frame in all three starts and did little wrong when only beaten by a progressive sort at Ayr four weeks ago. Her earlier half-a-length second to Perfect News looks the best form on display given the winner subsequently finished third in a Group 3 at HQ and is now rated 100+. Sky Blue Thinking was a ready winner last time but that form doesn’t come close to what Azure Blue has achieved on the numbers and, with the drop back in distance likely to prove beneficial for this consistent filly, she is an appealing each-way proposition in this grade.
Azure Blue - 0.5pts e/w @ 11/2

14:20 Haydock

The Download The Casumo App Handicap is a cracking sprint contest in which both William Buick and Oisin Murphy have fantastic chances in the shape of CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD (best price 5-1) and BEYOND EQUAL (best price 14-1), who appeal most with several bookmakers offering five places. 

The former, the mount of William Buick, has largely performed well in top-end handicaps this year and ran a blinder to finish second in another competitive event at York last time when beaten a short-head by course specialist Nomadic Empire. He probably would have won that day with a clear passage and he’s only raised a couple of pounds which seems fairly generous. His penultimate outing, when third at Doncaster, was another excellent effort in defeat and that form has worked out nicely given the winner Able Kane won earlier this week. With a strong pace guaranteed, everything looks to align perfectly for him to produce another bold effort with William Buick booked to ride, who will be chasing down Oisin Murphy for the jockey’s championship. 

The latter, the mount of Oisin Murphy, has been bought along nicely by connections this term and has yet to run a bad race in 2021, who had finished no worse then fourth prior to an eye-catching seventh last time. He fared really well in a pair of six-furlong handicaps before comfortably opening his account at Salisbury, where he demonstrated a good turn of foot to win by over two-lengths. He then went to Newmarket for the Moet & Chandon Handicap and, considering he carried top-weight of ten-stone, his strong finishing-surge was noticeable as he nearest the finish in third behind the well-regarded Twilight Calls, who was in receipt of chunks of weight. The six-year-old might have even finished a closer without being forced wide around the whole field. 

His fourth back there next time was another highly-respectable where, again, his late surge was firmly in evidence despite the race not being run to suit. He was then third in the Sky Bet Sunday Series Sprint Handicap and was last seen finishing seventh of 16 in the Portland at Doncaster, where he was the last horse off the bridle and kept on nicely to the finish to not be beaten far having not picked up when immediately asked for his effort. The six-year-old has winning course-and-distance form which is a plus and the booking of Oisin Murphy is also appealing, too. He’ll appreciate the drop in grade and, from a pound lower mark, he merits strong each-way consideration with Oisin Murphy looking to maintain his diminishing lead at the top of the jockey’s championship. 

Chairmanoftheboard - 0.5pts e/w @ 5/1
Beyond Equal - 0.5pts e/w @ 14/1

16:05 Haydock

FFION (best price 11-2) won both her starts as a three-year-old and although she’s yet to get her head in front this year, her consistency is hard to knock and she rates a live player with four places on offer once more having gone close on her last visit to this venue under similar conditions. 

This filly is very ground-versatile and has finished runner-up on both starts at this venue over seven-furlongs, including when beaten a neck by Molls Memory. She was narrowly denied in the Kensington Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and came close to resuming winning ways at Chester last time when beaten only a neck. She goes back over a mile and I think that will signal further improvement if getting a good pace to aim at as she tends to come home strongly. Richard Kingscote, who is a specialist around this track, has been booked for the ride and she makes a lot of appeal with plenty of things in her favour.

Ffion - 0.5pts e/w @ 11/2