Paul Callaghan’s Saturday Racing Tips At Haydock & Musselburgh
Paul Callaghan previews Saturday’s feature races at Haydock and Musselburgh.
2.05 Two Mile Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle over 2m.
I’ve gone with the Alan King trained Dino Velvet, wearing cheek pieces for the first time under Adrian Heskin. He finished fourth on his last outing at Newbury but I think he prefers sharper tracks as he has won at both Stratford and Market Rasen.
Dino Velvet runs here off a handicap mark of 125, his last winning mark is 129. He has run off a rating as high as 135 and finished second off 134, so on his best form Dino Velvet ought to be competitive.
2.40 Staying Chase Series Final Handicap Chase over 3m 1f 125y.
Defuture Is Bright for trainer Christian Williams and jockey Jack Tudor, who claims 3lbs off 10st, gets my vote here.
Defuture Is Bright won a qualifier for this race at Fakenham last month and is still relatively unexposed, as this is only his fifth start over fences and career start number 14 in total. If he can take another step forward, building on that Fakenham success, he has to be competitive carrying a featherweight of just 9st 11lbs.
3.15 Stayers Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle over 3m.
Ashtown Lad will need to bounce back and a career best to win this off his current rating of 135. He pulled up on his last run, 3 out, in Grade 2 company at Doncaster towards the end of January. Prior to that he was a beaten favourite, also in Grade 2 company at Cheltenham last December.
However, he won a novice hurdle at Wetherby in October and followed that up with a victory in a qualifier for this race at Uttoxeter 22 days later.
He had five runs in rather quick succession since the middle of October, so I think the break since his last run, combined with the fact that this, is his first start since having wind surgery, will see him bounce back to form here.
3pm Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap over 5f.
It’s worth noting, that on the five furlong course at Musselburgh, those drawn high, closer to the stand side rail have an advantage, as there is a slight kink in the rail after about two furlongs which favours those drawn high.
I think the Eric Alston trained Jabbarockie can make a bold bid from stall 10. He’s rated 93, which is the lowest he has been rated since August 2019. Jabbarockie has won off 94 and been placed off 98 in the past.
He ran well in defeat on his final start on soft ground at Haydock last season. I think the handicapper has given Jabbarockie a chance and he should appreciate the better ground at Musselburgh.
Caspian Prince is an old favourite, sure to run well from stall 6. I don’t think any horse will be in front of him after 1 furlong but he’s now a 12 year old and may prove vulnerable to younger legs.
Justanotherbottle wasn’t passed over lightly but he can be quite tricky leaving the stalls, and over the minimum trip at Musselburgh, he will not want to miss a beat.
3.35 Queen’s Cup (Heritage Handicap) over 1m 6f.
A chance is taken that Alright Sunshine can maintain his 100% strike rate at Musselburgh, he’s an impressive 4 from 4 at the track.
He runs off a handicap mark of 99, he’s won off 97 and finished mid division in a competitive handicap at Ascot last June off 105.
It will be interesting to see how jockey Callum Rodriguez plays his hand from stall number 3. Alright Sunshine is usually held up, but in his more recent runs, over hurdles and on the flat, he has been ridden closer to the pace.
There’s not many in the field who can be seriously ruled out but it is Alright Sunshine who gets my vote.
If that’s not enough, there is plenty of Graded action Stateside, which include key trials for the Kentucky Derby which takes place on May 1st.
Saturday night, we’ve got the Blue Grass Stakes (11.35pm) at Keeneland, the Santa Anita Derby (12.15am) at Santa Anita, and the Wood Memorial (10.58pm) at Aqueduct, where my early fancy for the Kentucky Derby, Prevalence bids to make it a perfect three victories from three starts under jockey Tyler Gaffalione.