Horse racing best bets for the racing action from Haydock on Saturday.
The highlight of Haydock’s card tomorrow will be the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup which makes-up, alongside the Group 3 Superior Mile, the best bets on Saturday afternoon.
A field of six remain for this Group 3 contest over 1m after Brendan Brackan was withdrawn after the 48 hour declarations. Plenty will be hoping that Captain Cat can rekindle the progressive form he showed prior to his last start at Goodwood. Jockey James Doyle admitted to giving his mount far too much to do that day and many will be glad to see George Baker taking the reins. Nonetheless he has questions to answer as well as a penalty to overcome and, as a short priced favourite, he doesn’t appeal.
Instead, preference is for SHORT SQUEEZE (3/1 William Hill) who represents the bang in-form trainer Hugo Palmer. This horse claimed an emphatic victory in a competitive Class 2 handicap at York during the Ebor Festival, weaving his way through traffic and getting up on the line with relative ease. That race was filled with a number of horses rated above 100 and he looked good value for his win. Alongside his current form, this horse showed last year that he seems to perform best in the autumn months as he demolished another good quality handicap field over course and distance after a similar victory prior to that at York. His profile is very appealing and, providing he is able to settle in this smaller field, he looks to have solid claims at generous looking prices.
Undoubtedly the class horse in this year’s renewal of the Betfred Sprint Cup is Sole Power. A multiple Group 1 winning sprinter, this seven-year-old looks to be in the form of his life after claiming victories in both the Kings Stand and the Nunthorpe Stakes in breath-taking fashion. However, he has yet to win over 6f and has been campaigned throughout his career as an out and out 5f specialist. Not only does the trip concern but also his need to be held up and the luck in running necessary for to this horse to win. Had the gaps failed to appear at York he would have found himself blocked in, unable to challenge for the win. As another relatively short priced favourite with questions to answer I'm happy to take him on as well.
I tipped up EXTORTIONIST (14/1 Coral) each-way for the Nunthorpe and was glad to see him get up to take third on the line. Another horse who is usually held up, he doesn’t seem to need the degree of cover that Sole Power does and is able to run on the flanks putting in his best work at the finish as others tire. With his run-style it is interesting to see him stepped up to 6f for the first time and, as an unexposed three-year-old he could well relish the extra furlong (something which Ryan Moore eluded to when he got off him after his efforts at York). Despite Moore not being able to take the mount, the jockey booking of Pat Smullen has to be seen as a positive given his recent record in England (the ride on the aforementioned Short Squeeze in particular) and at double figure prices this horse could well claim some more place prize money.
2.40 – SHORT SQUEEZE (WIN)(NAP) (3/1 William Hill)
3.50 – EXTORTIONIST (E/W) (14/1 Coral)
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