Preview of Thursday's behind closed doors meeting at Haydock Park
Haydock Park stages the first of three top-class days of action on Thursday with the meeting gearing up to the £225,000 Group One Haydock Sprint Cup live on ITV Racing on Saturday.
Thursday’s seven-race card begins at 1.10pm and culminates at 4.20pm. We have previewed the pick of the action with stats and analysis.
The feature contest is the £20,000 12-furlong handicap at 3.50pm in which Without A Fight bids to complete the hat-trick for Simon and Ed Crisford. The three-year-old backed up an easy win at Redcar with a smooth success at Newbury last time out and will relish ground conditions.
His chief rival looks to be Coconut who continues to improve with every start. The three-year-old broke her maiden with a smooth success at Newbury in a competitive maiden last time out and looks bound to come on again for that effort.
The six-runner field also features Tribal Craft who takes a drop in grade having struggled in Listed company last time out and top-weight Hochfeld who was well-beaten in the Ebor at York in August, but had previously boasted solid form when scoring at Goodwood.
The other £20,000 event on the card is a 10-furlong handicap at 3.20pm. Newmarket trainer John Gosden has his team in serious form and is operating at a 21% strike-rate in the last fortnight. He saddles the unexposed Sun Bear who recorded a smooth success at Windsor in July and is impeccably bred with her mother being Irish Oaks winner Great Heavens. This is another step up in grade, but she looks an exciting prospect.
Alpine Mistral has enjoyed a remarkable campaign and targets a fifth successive victory. Josephine Gordon has been aboard for all of those wins and whilst this represents a step up in class, she cannot be discounted given her liking for soft ground.
Polyphony is another last time out winner having scored by a neck at Doncaster earlier this month, but needs to prove he is as effective on slower ground. Salsada was successful in a novice event on the All-Weather at Newcastle in February and is also worth considering along with Tonyx who was unbeaten as a two-year-old, but has struggled to hit the same heights in two starts this term.
The £15,500 Conditions Stakes (2.50pm) is another interesting contest which sees former Royal Ascot winner Ostilio bid to regain the winning thread. He was a fine second at Haydock earlier this season and will relish the return to this trip, whilst Yafta, a former Group Three winner is also on the comeback trail having been well-beaten when favourite for a conditions event at Newcastle in August.
The pair could have their work cut out however to stop the exciting Al Rufaa. The three-year-old is chasing a four-timer following smooth wins at Kempton and Newmarket respectively and is capable of further improvement.
1.45pm Running Back
2.20pm Pied Piper
3.20pm Sun Bear
3.50pm Without a Fight
4.20pm Sharp Reply
Odds and tips via MyBettingSites