Sam Turner guides you through the day's live racing and has no less than ten fancies.
Sadly there is only seven runners as VEEJAY (Best price 12-1)
would appear a worthwhile each-way play in a race which offers more questions than answers. Dee Ex Bee has a reputation to rebuild after producing a shocking effort at York last time out, however he had previously looked a horse of immense potential at Goodwood and it is surely too early to write him off. There is a chance Veejay is overpriced given he is going the right way at present and he does at least arrive in rude health courtesy of a gritty Ripon success. Mick Channon’s improving colt already has solid track form courtesy of a creditable performance in nursery company behind the improving Rhosneigr and a course victory over seven furlongs in July and could outrun his morning odds.
Veejay - 1pt @ 12/1
HARRY ANGEL (Best price 11-4) arguably faces the stiffest examination of his career in the Sprint Cup with conditions at Haydock likely to favour three-mile staying chasers rather than the fastest horses in training.
Understandably perhaps, the bookmakers have been keen to lay a horse who displayed significant improvement this year on a sound surface, while the mud-loving Brando and The Tin Man, runner-up in this race 12 months ago, have attracted support.
However, Harry Angel, scintillating winner of the July Cup when last seen, coped well with plenty of ease in the ground at Newbury as a juvenile when routing his six rivals in the Mill Reef Stakes and I’m not certain any horse is likely to truly enjoy the state of today’s track which must surely ride heavy by post time if the forecast is correct.
The likes of The Tin Man, Growl and Tasleet have all recorded excellent efforts on a soft surface however I would rather side with the proven class of Harry Angel and hope he skips through the ground for another Group One success.
Harry Angel - 1pt @ 11/4
SOIE D’LEAU (Best price 13-2)
and Confessional fought out the finish to this race 12 months ago and they look capable of taking a hand a year later. The former loves soft ground so the forecast rainfall should ensure perfect conditions and he is beginning to look an attractively handicapped sprinter having been dropped for a run on ground faster than ideal at Chester last time.
Soe D'Leau - 0.5pts e/w @ 13/2
The decision to sidestep today’s valuable Ascot handicap may prove a smart move by connections of FLAMING SPEAR (Best price 8-1)
who allow their charge to dip his toe into Group company for the first time today. The selection certainly has an abundance of latent talent as he displayed when cosily winning a hot York handicap last time. The prospect of attritional ground is a slight concern for the chances of Flaming Spear, but he boasts genuine gears and his classy turn of foot could settle this open contest late on if he can be smuggled into the race in the straight.
Flaming Spear - 0.5pts e/w @ 8/1
The highly-progressive SEPAL (Best price 6-1)
may be one of few horses to relish conditions and, although the handicapper has tried to wreak some revenge for her recent successes, her winning streak might not come to an end this afternoon. Catching an improving and thriving filly at this time of year can be a profitable exercise with the selection’s confirmed ability to handle deep ground an undoubted positive on a day like this. Today’s trip will require a facet of Sepal’s talent not seen as yet, but the way she galloped on remorselessly last time to score readily suggests she could improve again and land a tidy handicap.
Sepal - 0.5pts e/w @ 6/1
With an unbeaten track record to defend, RAISING SAND (Best price 14-1) could be the one to side with in a typically ferocious handicap. Well thought of earlier in his career, the selection is beginning to justify the hype and won well on Shergar Cup day despite racing wide throughout. The drop back from a mile is a slight concern, but Raising Sand has now won both of his track starts and won’t mind if there is significant rain. His form took another boost yesterday when Leader Writer scored and the ground should be no issue.
SQUATS (Best price 6-1) always seems to come good in the autumn and he rates a major player now that he has bounced back to form with an impressive Newbury win last time. Granted this track and some cut in the ground, the selection is seemingly always on the scene in a race of this nature and is worth a play with some firms offering five places.
Squats - 0.5pts e/w @ 6/1
Raising Sand - 0.5pts e/w @ 14/1
The step up to a mile and half is a slight question mark for TO DIBBA (Best price 7-1),
but he shaped as though a stiffer test of stamina would suit when runner-up to a progressive filly over nine furlongs at Hamilton last time. The selection’s half-brother, Real Smart, won over 11 furlongs in America and there could be more to come from the son of Dubawi now he faces today’s trip for the first time. His Hamilton conqueror has gone in again since to boost the form and Roger Varian’s lightly-raced stayer could easily take a hand with ground conditions to suit.
To Dibba - 0.5pts e/w @ 7/1
MIDTERM (Best price 5-2)
hasn’t always delivered what he has promised, but he displayed an impressive turn of foot to land a minor event at Epsom last time and could be ready to continue delivering now he has found some confidence. The selection has always been held in some regard by connections and the change of gear utilised to overhaul decent yardstick Mount Logan suggested he is back on track.
Midterm - 1pt @ 5/2
There is a chance this level might be a bridge too far for VENTURA BLUES (Best price 12-1)
, but he is accumulating a good record at this venue and quickened up smartly to score here earlier this week over course and distance. Although he is penalised for the success, this surface clearly suits and his change of gear could be a potent weapon in a race of this nature. The selection’s stable landed a nice handicap yesterday at this venue and Ventura Blues is fancied to make a bold bid on a swift return to action.
Ventura Blues - 0.5pts e/w @ 12/1