It's time to make a Difference
Man On The Spot previews the six races from Haydock and Sandown that will be shown live on Channel 4 on Saturday.
- Related Content
This is a really tough start for punters here hoping to stay in the Scoop 6 pool. Keltus, representing last year's successful yard, has only been raised 3lb since his excellent fourth in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham so will probably start favourite as he should again beat Baradari and subsequent Ascot winner Raven's Tower. Saint Jerome is chasing a four-timer, though easily faces his toughest task to date. DISPOUR wasn't disgraced in a Grade 1 at Aintree last time in which Baradari was a faller. Donald McCain has booked the champ to partner his gelding in this and he may be the pick of the weights ahead of the less-exposed Stiff Upper Lip and Ronaldhino, who could reverse Ascot running with Raven's Tower but is proving hard to place.
Big Johnny D showed progressive form last season but is 9lb higher than when scoring here in September. Stablemate BERTIEWHITTLE makes more appeal as he's been competing in tough races at Meydan and on the Polytrack back in this country. Jack Garrity's allowance may just give David Barron's charge the edge over the likes of Set The Trend and he gets the vote. The latter has leading claims, however, with a recent outing under his belt while Marco Botti's new charge Dont Bother Me is interesting. Campaigned in pattern company last year, he makes his handicap debut with Frankie on board. Glen Moss makes more appeal than Sir Reginald at this level and though Consign never figured when fancied for the Lincoln, he could prove a different proposition back on fast ground.
MENORAH ran well for a long way behind Silviniaco Conti in a Grade 1 at Aintree last time. The slight drop in distance should suit and Philip Hobbs' useful chaser, who beat Hunt Ball when he was in his prime at Kempton last season, can belatedly get off the mark for the year. Rolling Aces stepped up on previous efforts when beating all-bar Boston Bob in the Melling Chase at Aintree. He's a Grade 2 winner and entitled to go close again but this may be too competitive for Kelso winner Maggio and Gullinbursti has been coming up short in handicaps. I Have Dreamed faces a very stiff task following a lengthy absence.
SIRE DE GRUGY should cap a wonderful season by winning a fourth Grade 1 of the campaign. According to the handicapper, Gary Moore's Queen Mother Champion Chase hero has at least a stone in hand on his rivals and won this 12 months ago when it was only a Grade 2. Special Tiara was only sixth at Cheltenham and looks to have little chance of reversing the form but he may still be the pick of the opposition ahead of improving handicapper Claret Cloak. Australia Day will ensure this is run at a good gallop but is likely to be picked off up the hill and French Opera is starting to look a light of former days.
Ardlui won last year's renewal and is not easily overlooked racing off the same mark today. Mubaraza also has a shout on his third in the Northumberland Plate in June while Esteaming should get involved if lasting home after winning over 1m2f at Newcastle recently. Sizzler is another stepping up in trip having ended last season with a double over 1m6f and beat Chocala on one of those occasions. Be Perfect and Hunting Ground won over 2m1f at Wolverhampton earlier this year but both were well beaten in a conditions race at Lingfield on Good Friday. Prolific hurdler BAYAN has just the one previous win on the Flat but ran a big race in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last month. Gordon Elliott's charge may well be up to landing this off his current mark.
It's no surprise that last year's runner-up, SAME DIFFERENCE, has been well backed. He's 7lb lower in the handicap this year and looked to be on the way back when fifth to Spring Heeled in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at Cheltenham. Granted luck in-running, it's difficult to see Nigel Twiston-Davies' charge, who's been lightly-campaigned this season, finishing out of the money. Godsmejudge almost won a second Scottish National in a row at Ayr two weeks ago, when Summery Justice was fifth and Roalco Des Farges pulled up, and also comes into the reckoning while subsequent Market Rasen winner Ardkilly Witness is fancied to reverse Kempton running with Bally Legend and Bury Parade over this longer trip. Rose Of The Moon, Burton Port and Twirling Magnet all failed to finish in the Grand National and that may have left its mark but Poungach isn't badly handicapped and could have each-way claims.