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Abate backed up his recent win for us by landing another at Haydock. Nothing great about the price, but on a very average day of racing, you can't moan about a 2pt winner. Mia Nicholls did the same as last time and give him a good ride from the front. She is clearly an inexperienced jockey as you can tell from her action, but you can't fault her, she is worth using with that 7lb claim.
Haydock 1:15 – Equilateral 7/2 (2pt B365/Whill)
This is a great race to start off the Haydock card, but if I'm honest, though there are some decent horses in this race if everyone runs to form there should be one winner and that is Equilateral.
This horse is by far the best horse in the race, I think he'll have the race run to suit with a good pace on show with some front runners in the lineup and it should set it up perfectly for Dettori on Equilateral to pick up the pieces when they've cooked themselves on the front end. You have some unexposed horses like Regional, though a 5yo he is still relatively lightly raced and he won well last time out in a good handicap, he could continue to progress, but coming against a proven Group quality operator like Equilateral might be a step too far for him.
The 8yo from Charles Hill's stable might not be in his pomp, but he arguably put up a career-best at today's venue over 5f last time out when finishing 2nd to Dramatised whilst conceding 11lbs to the 3yo filly. I just think that his chances of winning are there for all to see and today's ground conditions should be perfect.
Haydock 2:25 – Get Shirty 5/1 (1pt)
On paper, this is a competitive handicap, which is what you'd expect at the main card of the day on a Saturday, but if there's a class angle in this race it's got to be Get Shirty.
This horse comes back into a handicap (on British soil) for the first time since running a belter in the Ebor last year which saw him finish 5th/20 off 9st 12lbs, if he comes anywhere near to repeating that level of form he should be near impossible to lose. He has been kept to Class 1 company since and has done reasonably well for the most part, but he probably is more of a handicap horse who does well when carrying decent weight, so this race look s the perfect place for him.
The trip might be on the short side on quick ground, with his best form coming in the Ebor, but he did run what was deemed to be an equalling career best in a Meydan handicap earlier this spring over today's trip, recording an RPR of 115. As long as they go a decent gallop and he gets the splits at the right time he should be bang there.
James Doyle takes the ride, he has had 11 wins for David O'Meara and a further 13 placed finishes from 77 runs.
Haydock 3:00 – Time Lock 5/2 (2pt)
I can't remember if I tipped Time Lock up on her last start, as I've got the memory of a goldfish, or I might've had a fun bet, but either way, I watched the race and with a few furlongs left to run I thought she was going to breeze home, only for her to be passed late on by an improver from the Tom Ward stable.
That run at Goodwood was on good to soft ground, but it was also her first start of the season which was her first run in 260 days, and to me, it looked like she needed that run as her gas tank did empty. With that run under her belt, she should be 100% for this race and I think the ground should be fine for her, even though she is by Frankel and out of a mare who was better on soft ground, she won by 6.5L last May on good to firm ground, so she clearly handles it. She then bumped into Minikyu over 11.5F at Haydock which was a great battle between the pair but saw the Gosden filly come out on top in the dying strides. Based on that, people might think it'll be difficult to reverse the form, but she was carrying 6lbs more that day and today she is in receipt of 5lbs, so that is a big 11lb swing for a neck loss, and to me, she seems the play in this race against the Frankie and Gosden combo.
Haydock 3:35 – El Caballo 11/4 (1pt Bet365/BetVic)
This race is all about whether the Australian sprinter is as good as the rating of 115 suggests he is, but for me, his run at Newmarket was very poor and he has to be taken on based on that effort.
I'm giving El Caballo a chance for the inform Karl Burke yard who continues to get winners. I was very close to tipping this lad up last time out, and thankfully I didn't as he finished last by a mile. The market vibes that day was very negative for El Caballo and the trainer was very clear before the race saying he'll need the race, which looked clear as day after the race. That run meant that his last two runs were below par, he ran in the Commonwealth Cup the time before that and he finished very far back in that race too, but you've got to judge him on his runs before that as we've clearly not seen the best version of El Caballo the last two times.
He was a Group 2 winner over 6f at this track last summer which came on the back of a successful AW spring campaign. I think today's trip is perfect for him, especially at a track he clearly enjoys. He is a quick horse, but he does his best running at the end of the 6f races and he is bred to stay 7f, being by Havana Gold. If he bounces back to form, I really do believe he can trump the Aussie horse.
Haydock Park - 1:15 pm
7/2 @ Bet365
Haydock Park - 2:25 pm
5/1 @ Bet365
Haydock Park - 3:00 pm
5/2 @ Bet365
Haydock Park - 3:35 pm