THERE’S an early inspection at Haydock due to the threat of snow but I can’t see Jack Frost being an issue myself.
So let’s cut to the chase and dive into the seven-race televised card.
Race 1 – 12.55 Jockey Club Haydock Park Racing Club Handicap Hurdle
BAHAMA MOON should appreciate the sharper test Haydock offers and turn his recent placed efforts into a winning one.
He might look tough to win with at a glance but has had excuses more often than not and should win one of these sooner rather than later.
It will be hard to keep Ain’t My Fault out of the places on handicap debut. He’s going the right way and was just worn out of it by a decent horse last time.
Contre Tous should also be given another chance with more cut in the ground.
VERDICT – 1. Bahama Moon 2. Ain’t My Fault 3. Contre Tous
Race 2 – 1.30 Patrick Coyne Memorial Altcar Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
CRUCIAL ROLE should take all the beating here as the action steps up a notch.
For a Grade 2 it looks a tad windy, but Jerrysback will be serious competition and it looks a two horse race.
Dan Skelton’s Crucial Role won what looked like a good race at Uttoxeter – although it gets a big test at Chepstow on Friday – and could improve plenty for that.
He could well prove me wrong, but I’m still wary of Jerrysback form. He didn’t have to do much to win at Bangor and there were only four runners in his Ascot race.
Slate House was taken off his feet at Plumpton and needs this extra half a mile.
VERDICT – 1. Crucial Role 2. Jerrysback 3. Slate House
Race 3 – 2.05 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
IDEE DE GARDE can cause a shock in this Grade 2 at Haydock.
He was due to run in the Tolworth last time, but was pulled out late. They clearly hold him in high regard and those at the top of the market are not bulletproof.
Mister Fisher is only solid and has done well to get up to a mark of 142 so quickly. He’s a speedy type and that should play into his hands here.
Esprit Du Large is completely unexposed and should have more to offer up in class.
VERDICT – 1. Idee De Garde 2. Mister Fisher 3. Esprit Du Large
Race 4 – 2.40 The New One Unibet Hurdle (Grade 2)
It’s hard to oppose SILVER STREAK in the newly named The New One Hurdle.
I would have been with Brain Power had he been declared, but now can’t see past Evan Williams’s grey.
Global Citizen looks a tad over priced considering his form, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t go off second favourite. The track will suit him nicely.
Western Ryder gets a bit of weight which will be important, but to be honest it’s hard to discount any of these from going close.
VERDICT – 1. Silver Streak 2. Global Citizen 3. Western Ryder
Race 5 – 3.15 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (Grade 2)
ROBINSFIRTH can put aside a lengthy layoff and win another big TV race for Colin Tizzard.
He’s still very lightly-raced for a ten-year-old and should be fit enough to do himself justice here after his late withdrawal on New Year’s Day.
Otago Trail also has a big shout for the high-flying Venetia Williams. He clearly bounced last time, but should resume his progress again at a track Williams does well at.
Further down the market Wakanda should not be forgotten. He had excuses last time and appears fairly weighted at the moment.
VERDICT – 1. Robinsfirth 2. Otago Trail 3. Wakanda
Race 6 – 3.45 Cheltenham Preview Here In March Handicap Chase
The mortgage will be safe here and I wouldn’t recommend backing anything with much gusto.
VENDOR gets the tentative nod for the in-form Sue Smith and Danny Cook team.
Zalvados will be fancied in a few camps and the booking of Harry Skelton really catches the eye.
Colin Tizzard is going well again and another of his, this time New To This Town will be in the mix.
VERDICT – 1. Vendor 2. Zalvados 3. New To This Town
Race 7 – 4.15 Old Boston Handicap Hurdle
COURTOWN OSCAR can see you out in style in the lucky last.
He got stuck in the mud last time and a combo of better ground and a drop in the weights should see him go close.
Django Django did the business well last and could build on that for the O’Neill’s.
Highland Hunter is chucked into handicap company for the first time and a bit of money before the off and you could be in the black.
VERDICT – 1. Coutown Oscar 2. Django Django 3. Highland Hunter