Our racing expert likes a quartet of midweek runners, including a 33/1 shot.
Mick Channon can do little wrong right now (five winners from his last six runners) and OCTOBER STORM can be another winner for him in the 1m6f handicap at Haydock (due off 3.10pm) with Silvestre De Sousa booked to do the steering.
The three-year-old got off the mark over 1m4f at Kempton in March and then got outpaced over a slightly shorter trip on his next start at Windsor, where he stayed on past beaten horses to finish third. Stepped up to today’s trip at Sandown last time, he again got going all to late having been held up and he nearly snatched second close home. Bred to be stayer (races like one too), he definitely has a race of this nature in him off his current mark and the longer Haydock straight should help him.
The 7f handicap run later on the card is packed with progressive three-year-olds and both Next Life and Tarboosh are defending unbeaten records, so there should be some value odds available for Tom Dascombe’s DUTCH GALLERY. A Newmarket maiden winner on his racecourse debut last July, he was set a tough task when returned to that track for a hot handicap on his reappearance and eighth place was a fair effort considering. He could beat only one home in a 6f handicap at this track last time, but stall 16 proved his undoing as hardly any high-drawn runners got into contention that day.
So, he has to be worth another chance over today’s extra furlong, which promises to suit, and having been dropped 5lb by the handicapper to a new mark of 75. Further encouragement can be gleaned from his trainer’s record here. This is Cheshire-based Dascombe’s local track and of the 230 runners he has sent out since 2012, 42 (18%) have ended up in the winners’ enclosure for a £1 level-stakes profit of £87.11. He’s in form too with six winners in the last 14 days.
Paul Midgley has really found some form of late after a slow start to 2016 which means he has plenty of well-handicapped horses to go to war with. GIANT SPARK being just one example and the four-year-old should take all the beating under a 6lb penalty in the 6f handicap for amateur riders at Hamilton this evening (6.15pm), having hacked up by nine lengths in a similar race at Redcar eight days ago under today’s pilot.
His stablemate SUNRAIDER could well bring up a double for the yard in the later class 4 6f handicap (8.45pm) – he’ll be a bigger price too. The nine-year-old hinted that his turn was near when finishing a close fourth at Carlisle last time (would have finished third in another stride) and he tends to peak at this time of year, with his record in June standing at 105111382 (4-9), improving to 111132 (4-6) in sprints of 11 or fewer runners. Two of those wins came over track and trip and it must be the stiff uphill finish here that suits him as he has also won at Carlisle and Pontefract.