Going should suit Journey at Haydock Park

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We’ve teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.

Today’s feature meeting comes from Haydock Park and the ground is likely to be just on the slow side of good following Thursday’s rain which left the course as good to soft going into yesterday’s card.

Journey (2.35) improved in leaps and bounds last term and was a bit keen over a trip, arguably, on the sharp side at York on her reappearance. With that freshness out of her system she is taken to land the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes for fillies’ and mares’ over a-mile-and-a-half. The mare has been backed from 7/4 to 6/4 with BetVictor and I would be disappointed if she didn’t justify favouritism.

Denis Coakley’s Miss Marjurie won the corresponding race last term, but she was below par on her reappearance at Goodwood in a race she had won 12 months ago and has a bit to find with the selection.

The ground was described as good to soft when Home Of The Brave won at Leicester last month but the time suggests the going was certainly no worse than good; the vote goes to So Beloved (3.10) who should have the fast pace he craves with Home Of The Brave in the field and impressed when scoring over C&D on his reappearance.

The Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes is worth the admission money alone with Guineas ninth Buratino dropping back to sprinting but the gelding Gifted Master (3.45) has looked very good in two starts so far this term and is currently 7/1 at BetVictor for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next month.

In the last, with the Karl Burke yard in such good form, do note a market move for Firesnake (5.30) who ran on well back at 6f at Hamilton last time and his young claimer takes off a further 5lbs; he wore cheek-pieces for the first time in Scotland and if they work again he can reward each way support in a competitive contest.

There is a terrific card at Cartmel in the Lake District and the handicapper really has given Mr Syntax (4.25) a chance; he ran an excellent race before the petrol ran out at Haydock over 3m on his penultimate start and what he needs is good ground and about 2m 4f; well he has good ground and 2m 5f today and he is 10lbs lower than that good Haydock effort two starts ago.

I’m really looking forward to the chase debut of winning point-to-pointer Desoto County in the Beginners’ Chase for Paul and Clare Rooney; the Irish raider was the best of this bunch over timber and could make up into, at worst, a decent handicapper over the larger obstacles.

At Chester, the form of Engage’s (4.35) second to Maleficient Queen was franked when the winner won a listed contest at Ayr on her next start and the selection was running on well on that occasion over 10f suggesting today’s 12f would suit. The filly is well drawn in stall three and have most to fear from Mark Johnston’s Four Mile Beach who ran well on ground that wouldn’t have suited at Pontefract last month.

There is a good card at Ffos Las this evening and I have been impressed by Maxi Chop (6.05) in Hunter Chases of late and he makes his debut for champion trainer Paul Nicholls off, what looks, a decent mark in the opener. His young amateur rode him to success at Fontwell last time and is good value for his 7lbs claim.

There is a valuable handicap chase at Kelso tomorrow and I think Greenlaw (3.35) has dropped to a winning mark for Charlie Longsdon; top-weight Looking Well is one of a number of dangers but the selection has been dropped 7lbs since running well at Newbury on his reappearance from a break and the booking of Aidan Coleman looks significant.

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