At Haydock this evening Daydreamer is a fascinating contender on his handicap debut for William Haggas having gone off 9/2 joint favourite for a Newmarket maiden on debut and having suggested that he would appreciate a step up in trip when making late gains at Windsor over 10 f last time.
Emeraldhz is only 2lb higher than when winning at Beverley last time for Richard Fahey and she will love the ground and should appreciate the step up in trip but the each way vote goes to Cincilla (9.05) blinkered for the first time for Ralph Beckett.
The filly was another to be doing her best work late on in a Salisbury maiden over 10f last time and as a daughter of Authorized she will appreciate the give in the ground.
We are racing on Newmarket’s July course for the first time this year and Divine (2.30) can defy top-weight for Godolphin in the 6f fillies’ event having scored at Hamilton from a 7lb lower mark last time.
This looks a better race but I’m not convinced many of these fillies’ will be at home on the forecast soft ground. John Gosden’s Much Promise makes her seasonal reappearance having scored on polytrack back in November but as a half-sister to Oaks winner Talent she is likely to get further this term.
Life Partner (3.40) travelled like the best horse in the race at Doncaster last time and he went into my list of horses to follow. He runs off the same mark today with William Buick replacing Mickael Barzalona in the plate; he is bred to appreciate quicker ground and the hope is that the track escapes the forecast showers.
This particular evening meeting at Stratford is one of my favourite cards of the whole year but there is no good thing as there was 12-months ago when Mosey Joe ran away with the Champion Hunters’ Chase.
Paint The Clouds would have been something to bet on had the ground been good, Irish raider Vital Plot meets nothing of the calibre of Punchestown winner On The Fringe this evening, but the selection is Foundry Square (8.25) runner up at Cheltenham last time when giving the impression this trip would suit. He looked a Hunter to follow at Newbury earlier in the season and Pearlysteps, who is suggested as the main danger, looks a better horse going right-handed.
In the opener Utopian (5.50) will have to jump better than he did at Fontwell last time but he is half the age of Overlut, who is looking for his fourth win in this corresponding event, and looks as if he could make up into a decent performer in this sphere.
Rum And Butter won despite jumping left-handed at Kempton but wouldn’t want the ground too soft and winning pointer McIllhatton (6.20) gets the vote for Paul Nicholls. One could argue the selection is another who wouldn’t want soft ground but he receives 6lbs from the likely favourite and certainly has the scope to jump a fence.
Universal Soldier (6.50) returned to something like his best when winning over an extended four miles at Cheltenham’s evening meeting last month and he can follow up over 3m 4f in the race for lady riders.
He was a useful sort for Charlie Longsdon under rules and at nine-years-of-age should be in his prime at present. It would be disappointing if he didn’t go very close.
Chosen Milan (7.20) beat Foundry Square two lengths at Cheltenham last time and, obviously, wouldn’t have been out of place in the feature, but connections keep him to novice company and he must run well.
His jumping has been a bit hit and miss in the past but it was fluent at Cheltenham last time and he seems to be progressing well. Shy John was beaten 20 lengths in the Festival Foxhunters’ and looks the one to beat in a terrific renewal.
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