Steve Ryder is back with three selections for Friday's racing, all running at Haydock.
This looks a fiercely competitive nursery handicap but preference goes to the Daryll Holland trained SUANNI (best priced at 7-2) who got off the mark last time in impressive fashion. The son of Lethal Force had previously run with credit on his four starts in novice/maiden company but took a huge step forward when winning on handicap debut last time at Bath. The colt made all that day by 2 ½ lengths and is fully deserving of the 7lb rise given by the handicapper.
Suanni was fitted with a first time tongue-tie and blinkers combination last time and if that works for a second time then he should prove extremely difficult to beat. William Buick, who rode him on debut, takes over today in his bid to become champion jockey and hopefully Suanni can provide him with a much needed winner.
The Jedd O’Keefe trained AIR RAID (best priced at 6-1) outran odds off 40/1 to finish 3rd at York last week and he should be suited by the conditions of this race. He won this race last season on heavy ground off a mark of 95 and is only 1lb higher this year having been raised 1lb for his latest run at York. That run came on good to soft ground where he was only beaten 1 ¼ lengths on his first run for 112 days.
Air Raid had been given a wind operation in that time and many feel that it is the second run after a wind operation that they see the benefit which is a positive for this race. The return to Haydock and soft ground will be sure to suit and he should run well with up to six places available.
There are a few unexposed three-year-olds in this field but I feel the market has overlooked the Kevin Frost trained NEWBOLT (best priced at 16-1) who comes into the race on the back of a last gasp win at Musselburgh last time. The four-year-old bounced back from a couple of disappointing efforts on turf earlier this season to win at Musselburgh last time over 7f. He was given a lot to do by Shane Gray that day but stayed on extremely well to win by a short head shaping like this step back up to a mile would suit him well.
The handicapper has raised Newbolt 3lb for that victory which is fair as the pair pulled 2 ½ lengths clear of the third and he is also a previous winner at the course back in June last year. With five places available on the race, he looks overpriced with Mark Crehan’s claim negating his 3lb rise.