Fire to set Haydock ablaze
Ben Linfoot previews today's action at Haydock and Salisbury, including his tip of the day and a shout for a 50/1 chance.
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Haydock's three-day Sprint Cup meeting starts this afternoon and Ed de Giles' HOSTILE FIRE looks a decent bet in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap at 14.30.
This three-year-old Iffraaj gelding is improving at a rate of knots and looks sure to benefit for the step back down in trip to a mile today.
Between April and July he won three consecutive handicaps over a mile off marks of 58, 64 and 70 and he still looks on an upward curve after finishing second off 74 over ten furlongs at Newmarket last time.
You can check out the video replay from that race here and as you can see he never settled over the longer trip, with Pat Cosgrave struggling to conserve his charge's energy.
Despite this exuberance he was travelling well at the two-furlong marker and was short of room at the time, allowing eventual winner Carnevale to get first run. Once in the clear he finished his race well, but watching the replay you can't help but think he's an out-and-out miler.
Cheekpieces are applied this afternoon, Andrea Atzeni takes over in the saddle and the presence of prominent racer We'll Shake Hands from a low draw should ensure a good pace.
Atzeni will probably drop the selection in from a wide berth in 12 and the sharp left-handed turn and long straight looks sure to suit judging by his win at Nottingham in July.
This is a competitive race with plenty of in-form horses, but it should be run to suit the selection and at 6/1 he makes plenty of appeal.
There are some interesting maidens on the Haydock card too and Roger Varian's juveniles are well worth checking out in the the paddock if you're going to the track.
Varian has a superb 43% strike-rate at Haydock with his two-year-olds (six wins from 14 starts) and American Artist looks a likely type in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry EBF Maiden Stakes at 15.00.
This Danehill Dancer colt is a half-brother to Along Again who was third in last season's Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes and after being withdrawn because of fast ground earlier in the season you would think the bit of cut at Haydock today will be ideal.
The market vibes are very strong this morning with a best price of even-money trading generally.
The first race on the card, the Betfred Jack Berry MBE EBF Maiden Stakes, has a whole host of interesting horses representing some stellar yards.
Dissolution heads the betting for Sir Michael Stoute but he looks short enough considering he was beaten seven lengths when sent off the 15/8 favourite at York's Ebor Festival.
One that might give him plenty to think about is Karl Burke's Lord Ben Stack who made a really nice debut at Haydock when fourth 47 days ago.
The runner-up that day, Kevin Ryan's Salateen, has won at Chester since and the extra furlong this afternoon looks in Lord Ben Stack's favour given he's bred to thrive over middle distances in the future.
Burke's record with juveniles at Haydock is the opposite of Varian's; he's zero wins from six starts in the last five years. However, this is his best ever batch of two-year-olds as 13 wins from 50 starts, at a strike-rate of 26% (+39.99), testifies.
Haydock isn't the only meeting with some nice horses on show as Salisbury hosts an excellent eight-race card this afternoon featuring the Group 3 Country Gentleman's Association Dick Poole Fillies' Stakes at 16.20.
Marsh Hawk and Bronze Maquette are two of the more likelier winners on form, but I'd like to give a bit of a shout to the claims of Amaze Me who has been chalked up at 50/1.
Now, she is a once-raced maiden taking on a bunch of winners that have achieved good levels of form which explains her price.
But there are plenty of reasons to believe she is overpriced today.
Firstly, she made a really pleasing start to her career when fourth in a Newbury maiden in the middle of August. Watch the video replay and you'll notice her staying on nicely under hands and heels riding from J-P Guillambert.
That form has worked out okay and Nick Littmoden, who has had three winners from his last six runners at Salisbury (+39.00), has her entered in the Cheveley Park.