PROVOCATION (4.25) may be slightly over-priced in the 1m 2f at Haydock, especially with trainer Mark Johnston sweeping all before him.
The three-year-old has been gelded since running sixth in a fairly hot Novice Stakes at Chelmsford City in November and is probably open to improvement. The horse which finished fifth in that event, Al Salt, landed a decent contest at Newcastle for William Haggas last week. That trainer saddles the Queen’s Dusty Dream, fourth to John Gosden’s Heiress at Newmarket, and she might be the one to beat.
Earlier on the card MOON KING (2.15) is worth an interest in the two-mile handicap. Ralph Beckett did a grand job with the gelding last season as Moon King won five on the bounce before being raised in class. Moon King was by no means disgraced behind Andrew Balding’s Ranch Hand and useful Trueshan here in September and his sixth to well-treated Hamish at York was another solid effort. This looks a bit easier if he is wound up for the task.
Gosden and Rab Havlin have been seen to good effect since the resumption of racing and DISCO FEVER (2.00) and MARIA ROSA (2.30) could well mop up both divisions of the Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Chelmsford City. Rab took a spill at Haydock yesterday and may have to pass the doctor.