Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's action.
Haydock’s card opens with three maidens and the market should prove the best guide.
It will be interesting to see how much confidence there is behind Hugo Palmer’s Star Archer in the 1m maiden (3.00pm) as he’s gone off at short prices on both his starts to date, only to let backers down by finishing second. He’s clearly got talent but he found precious little for pressure when odds-on at Windsor last time, getting stuffed by three and a bit lengths, and I’d be very wary of supporting him here at shortish odds.
On the other hand, I could easily be persuaded to part with some cash for the Charlie Appleby-trained ALQAMAR. He’s an unraced son of Dubawi but the stable juveniles usually know their job first time up and, indeed, they have been in flying form in 2016, with 20 winners on the board from 66 runners (30%). Many of these have been at prohibitive odds, admittedly, but this Derby entry should be available at a backable price due to the presence of the Palmer runner and he may well prove good enough.
You’d be showing a nice profit if backing blind all of William Haggas’ runners at the Lancashire track since 2012 with 1-3 finding the winners’ enclosure, and that makes the trainer’s ZWAYYAN even more of interest in the 1m handicap on the card (3.30pm). The three-year-old has been given a mark of 80 for his first foray into handicap company and that may prove generous as while it wasn’t much of a race he won at Lingfield last time, he absolutely hosed up. Given that was just his third start there is almost certainly better to come and the booking of Frankie Dettori, who has a 28% strike rate on the stable runners, clinches the bet.
I’m even sweeter in the chances of John Gosden’s MUWAARY in the 7f conditions stakes (4.00pm). He’s not the top-rated runner in the field with that honour going to Dark Emerald, who has 3lb in hand. However, that horse has a penalty to carry meaning he has to give the Gosden runner 10lb and that looks a tall order. While he hasn’t won for over two years now, he has been lightly-raced, missing the 2015 campaign entirely, and this is the first time he has had his ground this season, though there wasn’t much wrong about his reappearance third in Listed company at York back in June (good to soft).
You can forget his next run when only fifth at Newmarket as the race was run in torrential rain and he clearly hated the heavy conditions. There was some cut in the ground when he finished fourth in the French Guineas as a three-year-old, but arguably his best effort came on good ground at Royal Ascot later that season when only finding Mustajeeb too good in the 23-runner Group 3 Jersey Stakes. He’d walk this if reproducing that form (quite possible) and further encouragement can be taken from his stable form, with seven winners coming in the last fortnight and the rest all running up to market expectations or better.