1.25 Haydock

SET IN STONE has been an excellent horse to own winning 11 of her 53 races and placing a further 10 times. She has postmarked a high of 97 on the flat and won off an official handicap mark of 86.

She has been jumping for the past two seasons and hasn’t been as good over hurdles, but connections have persevered, with only the occasional run on the flat. 

As a younger filly, most of her flat wins were around 1m 1f, and it’s only since she has gone hurdling that connections have run her over further.

Last season she won two National Hunt flat races over 2 miles, so her flat stamina has been proven.

The daughter of Famous Name did have a successful hurdling campaign winning two races over the winter, but her form in 2022 has been below par.

Set In Stone returned to the flat recently over 1 mile 1 furlong, but didn’t shine, and it could be she needs a little further these days, so today’s step up to 1m 4F is sure to suit.

It’s only been 13 days since her last run, and that’s highly significant as she relishes a short space between races as her last three wins have been after 12 or 13 days. Indeed eight of her 11 wins have been within three weeks of her previous run.

She had unseated her rider over hurdles prior to her last flat race, and the gap leading into that race was six weeks, so it looks to me connections have mapped out a plan to take in that as a prep, with a view to winning this race and follow up under a penalty on Wednesday next week where she is entered to run at Hamilton.

Set in Stone is dangerously well handicapped off 64, and could easily rattle up a sequence, as she has done in previous years (doubles and a hattrick in 2017).

With that profile, I’m amazed we can back her at 66/1 (best price 100/1 through oddschecker), and I recommend 1 point each way.

14:00 Haydock

The eight-year-old MANCINI has been a standing dish in all the top staying handicaps for the past three years, but he just hasn’t quite cut it in the most competitive, prestigious staying handicaps.

There is no shame in that, and it’s meant he hasn’t won for two years.

He is very much ground dependent and can’t cope with soft in the description, so today’s good ground - with a stimp reading of 7.5 - is very much in his favour.

After a losing sequence of 12 runs, it’s no surprise his handicap mark has started to ease, and from a high of 94, we see him run off just 82 today. 

Considering he ran in the Chester Cup last time out and the Cesarewitch three runs ago, he will find this a much easier test, and with his fitness in place, running off his lowest mark in four years he could surprise at a tasty price of 50/1.