Plymouth Rock was solid on the exchange leading up to the race, shortening from 30.0 into 16.0-ish. That was encouraging but afterwards, things didn't go so well as he missed the break and couldn't get a good position. He never landed any sort of blow and maybe the lack of a visor, or blinkers, deadened him, plus it's entirely likely that the horrific ground and trip combination were never going to help! Similar conditions back around a mile in a 0-70 and I'll be tempted to punt again at a price, especially if they pop on the visor.
-1.00pts on the day.
Two bets up for now. Might add another couple between 12-1pm, also might not. Will tweet!
Stone Soldier is better on the All-Weather, particularly fibresand, but his turf mark is reflecting that now as he's a full 15lbs lower off 85. Last time out, he ran in the Victoria Cup at Ascot but a cavalry charge there was never going to suit and he predictably weakened, whilst at Musselburgh beforehand the drying ground went against him. These horrible Haydock conditions could be exactly what he's after and whilst this is a competitive race in which I can sort of understand why he's such a massive price, it's worth risking a few quid on him thriving in the mud. The market is overlooking him too readily and I'm not sure it's right!
This could be a case of a Volatile Analyst barking up the wrong tree again but I think this horse is interesting. He's handicapped pretty much solely on a fourth in a Group 2 as a juvenile and hasn't got within a stone of that in four subsequent runs, but he ran a promising race over a mile here last week, blowing up before hitting the line quite strongly. He could come on a lot for the run, his first for 284 days, and is another few pounds down the ratings. Back at 7f, they might be tempted into more prominent tactics and although he obviously has plenty to prove - including on this ground - at a big price I'm happy to gamble.
In a tricky contest, Green Planet could be the solution. The lightly-raced 4-year-old has only had four outings under flat rules and has shown no shortage of ability, albeit with a few quirks thrown in for good measure. I thought his last run in particular was encouraging when behind a talented stablemate at Lingfield and you have to upgrade the bare effort as he didn't enjoy the nature of that track at all. A flatter venue is in his favour, he clearly has no issue with cut underfoot and he looks to have enough about him to be a mid-80's performer soon. From a rating of 78, I'm happy to play a point on any price around the 6/1 mark, or bigger.
Umm Kulthum was strongly fancied for the Fred Darling on her return but she was plenty free in the race and may not have stayed, for all that I thought before the race that she would. Back to 6f could be the right approach for now and she is the highest rated horse in the field based on her juvenile form, which included a Group 3 success and a close up third in the Group 1 Cheveley Park. Heavy ground is an unknown but she handles some ease well and assuming she has trained on from two to three (something that's still to be proven of course), any double-figured quote is a reasonable bet. This is wide open and she could do well.
Pendleton has some very strong form in sprint handicaps and despite a career-high mark to deal with, he could rate higher yet. Having missed his 4yo season, he returned from 560 days off the track to run a cracker at Ascot and only lost out in a head-bobbing finish to Fresh, a horse I think has plenty of talent. Today, he has to drop back to the minimum distance but on the sole occasion he raced at 5f, he defeated Came From The Dark on soft ground and he's rated 108 these days. A hard gallop in a big field will bring out the best in him and assuming that he doesn't bounce just two weeks on from Ascot, he must be getting heavily involved.
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