Rain warning for Betfair runners
Haydock clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright has warned of increasingly attritional ground conditions ahead of Saturday's Betfair Chase.
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Long Run, second to Kauto Star in the race last year, will face five rivals in the contest as he aims to make a winning return to action.
Up-and-coming Charlie Hall Chase winner Silviniaco Conti heads the opposition, with Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster and the enigmatic Weird Al also set to line up along with likely outsiders Cannington Brook and Wayward Prince.
However with the going at Haydock already officially soft, Tellwright is expecting further rain in the build-up to the race.
"We're due another half an inch at some point on Thursday, then 3mm or so more on Friday before it turns drier," he told sportinglife.com. "It's already soft and it's hard to see how we won't be left with some 'heavy' in the ground if the rain arrives as forecast - the question is how much."
One trainer who won't mind how much the ground deteriorates is Colin Tizzard who had warned earlier in the week that Cannington Brook was unlikely to line up unless the ground was almost unraceable.
Tizzard said: "I hope it rains at Haydock between now and Saturday and then Cannington Brook will make them all go.
"He came out of his run at Ascot fine. He got knocked over three out and he never had a hard race at all.
"He is 30lb wrong with the others but he loves heavy ground and is unbeaten around Haydock. That is the only reason we are taking these horses on because of the way he can handle that Haydock heavy - we wouldn't take them on anywhere else.
"I hope there is a bit more improvement to come from him as he needs to improve 20lb to place on Saturday, but the ground will help him."