Be bold and go for Par
Man On The Spot previews Saturday's live Channel 4 races from Haydock, Newmarket and York.
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Good to see some of the old guard on duty such as Bertiewhittle, Brae Hill and Pintura, all of whom are capable of putting in performances to see them in contention. The trio are preferred in that order, although it's hard to believe that the Barron inmate has no win to his name since August 2011 in view of the excellent performances he's given in so many high profile handicaps. Sadly, the handicapper refuses to relent and he may have to go home with place money once more. Best Of Order powered home on heavy ground at Doncaster last time and Ronan Whelan takes off a valuable 3lb but SIRIUS PROSPECT is taken to revert to winning ways. A dual course and distance winner, he handles ground with cut well and should be spot-on after runs on Polytrack and in Listed grade so far this term. The drop back to a seventh furlong also looks ideal.
Cubanita carries a penalty for her victory in the John Porter at Newbury where she beat subsequent Group 1 winner Noble Mission. But she still has leading claims back on soft ground given Astonishing was beaten three lengths at Newbury with Quiz Mistress and Khione further behind. The latter's stablemate Silk Sari handles soft going and is one of several stepping up in class along with Madame Defarge and SULTANINA. John Gosden could have found an easier opportunity for his Salisbury maiden winner so the hint is taken and William Buick's mount is preferred to stable companion Freedom's Light. The latter found Special Meaning a length too good in Listed company at Goodwood last time but last year's winner Moment In Time looks a bigger threat having run well in a Group 2 at Meydan in March.
Alan King has his select Flat string in good heart and First Mohican was right back to his best when a length third to Mount Athos in the Listed Aston Park Stakes at Newbury. He seemed to struggle when contesting Group races abroad last season and this looks his optimum level. He faces strong opposition on many fronts, of which RENEW makes most appeal despite topweight. Already a winner in Listed company, he ran a solid race when fourth behind Gospel Choir in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes, just one spot behind last year's Irish Derby winner, Trading Leather. He'll stay the trip and receives the nod in the hope that his rider will handle the demands of the Knavesmire. Clever Cookie has become a real moneyspinner for Peter Niven under both codes and it's interesting to see him upped a half mile in trip after a comfortable success here last time in competitive handicap company. We'll learn more about how good he is here and it will be no surprise to see him go well. Other possibles are the consistent Rawaki and Statutory.
Amarillo made a successful trip over from Germany to land this race last year. But Peter Schiergen's charge carries a penalty for a recent win in Munich and is up against the higher rated GARSWOOD this time round. The latter won the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last term and with a recent run under his belt and top-notch Irish-based jockey Pat Smullen on board, he looks the one to beat. Eton Forever could only manage fifth in last season's renewal but arrives in good form having won a Listed event at Leicester whileTawhid also landed a Listed contest at Newbury when last at the track in September. Breton Rock beat Custom Cut here three weeks ago while the latter's stablemate Penitent is still capable at this level on his day.
One for sprint lovers in a typically competitive York dash. There are endless possibilities, such as Masamah who is definitely best at the minimum trip and performing with credit over the past couple of seasons and Alben Star, arguably unlucky not to land a similarly competitive Newmarket sprint won by Goldream latest when a fast-finishing fourth after receiving a troubled passage. He has a career-high mark to contend with but remains a leading contender. Body And Soul has been plying her trade in higher grade for the most part on recent starts but should be much more at home returned to handicaps and should give a good account along with the consistent but luckless Racy. TAURUS TWINS has been enjoying a golden patch at the age of eight, rattling up a recent hat-trick. This is a tougher test but it would be foolish to write him off on ground he loves in receipt of weight all round.
With most of these struggling to find their best or making their seasonal comeback, Goldream looks to have a good chance of going in again. He scored here earlier in the month but the soft ground may be a problem for him and so another chance goes to HADAJ. The latter should be thereabouts with a repeat of his second to Angus Og at Ripon on his penultimate start. Peterkin is preferred to Tanseeb of the Johnson runners while Dont Bother Me is partnered by Ryan Moore today but hasn't raced over 6f since his debut in 2012. Regal Parade will do well to confirm recent running at York with Picture Dealer given the latter was having his first start of the year while Rene Mathis and Hoodna are others to consider in an unappealing sprint.
York Glory edges this at the weights and Richard Hughes presence suggests the grey will be somewhere near his best on his first start since September. Noble Storm won this in 2011 and has the more recent form with an impressive win at Thirsk though it's been some time since he scored in soft ground. ETON RIFLES ran below par behind Maarek in the Duke Of York last time but this is more his level. With the soft ground in his favour, Stuart Williams's sprinter is can take revenge on Steps for October's short-head defeat at Ascot. Dinkum Diamond has a bit to find with the latter pair on Ascot running while Swan Song has the beating of Move In Time on her recent victory at Chester.
Mighty Yar is open to further progress after scoring over today's trip here last time under Ryan Moore though the latter sticks with regular partner RYE HOUSE in this. A close-up fifth to Clever Cookie at York on his recent comeback, Sir Michael Stoute's charge is at his best in soft ground and preferred to Duke Of Clarence. The latter also went close at York last time when Lahaag was well beaten but Plutocracy's winning run came to an end when runner-up at Bath and he's been raised a further 2lb. Dashing Star can be given a chance on his second in the Melrose at York in August but Havana Beat has come up short in Group company and this is a tough race in which to make his handicap debut.
Pat Smullen has a good book of rides and PARBOLD should run a big race. Back over 6f for the first time since going close in last year's Gimcrack at York, Richard Fahey's charge gets the nod to confirm more recent running with Aeolus and land this prize. Mick's Yer Man and Shamshon are both penalised for wins in pattern company but the latter has more scope and a bold bid is expected from him. Betimes is interesting attempting 6f for the first time after finishing adrift in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket but the remainder look to be facing a tough task in this company.