Our racing expert is eyeing up three runners at Haydock this evening as potential bets.
John Gosden’s SACRED PATH is the potential future star on show this evening in the fillies’ novice over an extended 1m2f, for which she’s favourite having shown plenty of promise on her debut at Goodwood last month. Having been held up in midfield, she looked well held in fifth over a furlong out before getting the idea of things late on and finishing strongly to snatch second in the last few strides.
A sister to four Flat winners, including Shantaram (1m5f, Group 3), she can only improve on that effort over today’s longer trip, which should suit, and that she holds an entry in the Group 2 Ribblesdale tells you she is highly regarded at home. Getting weight from the penalised Kinaesthesia and with main market rival, Elasia, likely to need the run/experience, she is taken to open her account, albeit we’re being asked to take odds-on.
It could be worth taking a chance on the fitness of Roger Varian’s THE LAST EMPEROR on his first run back in the 1m2f handicap as he is potentially better than his opening mark of 83. Certainly, his juvenile form is working out out well with Radio Source, whom he beat into second on his racecourse debut at Yarmouth, winning his next start by five lengths, while the third Ship Of The Fen has won twice since. His subsequent length second behind Barford at the same track also looks better when you consider the winner was getting 6lb and is now rated 91.
He was well held on his final outing of last season at Salisbury, but the fact he’s had wind surgery since then suggests his breathing may have been holding him back and provides an excuse. With that having been sorted, he looks the type to progress through the ranks this term and providing he’s fit enough after his winter break – the market will be the best guide to that – this ordinary class 4 contest should be well within his compass.
The 6f handicap looks far trickier to solve but one that should go well at a price is Michael Herrington’s CIRCUIT JUDGE (NON-RUNNER). He’s by far the least exposed runner in the field after just four outings and given that he ran well for a long way over a mile on his third and final start of last season, it was no surprise to see him back over this trip for last month’s return to action at Newcastle. Sent off an unconsidered 25/1 shot and settled in rear early off a steady gallop, he made eye-catching late progress up the stands’ rail to be involved in a bunched finish, with just a length and a half separating him from the winner at the line.
With that run under his belt and off the same mark here, it’s not hard to imagine him giving the rest of the field something to think about, especially if they go a stronger gallop than last time. I also like the booking of talented apprentice Callum Rodriguez, who has ridden a couple of decent priced winners (11/2 & 6/1) already this week and takes a handy 3lb off the selection’s back.
All odds were correct at time of posting.