In keeping with much of this summer’s action, Haydock’s afternoon card on Friday 21 July is limited to just six races.
Unfortunately that hasn’t helped boost field sizes, but there’s a good staying handicap at 15:50 and winners are to be found.
2.05 – Moai @ 8/1
A chance can be taken on Moai in the opening race on the card, an apprentice handicap over one mile at 14:05. There is very little to recommend the five-year-old on his eight starts for Ivan Furtado but things could be different today.
The son of Showcasing arrived from France with a mark of 99 and that has plummeted to 65 going into Friday’s race. A tongue-tie and cheekpieces go on for the first time and this is only the second occasion that Moai has run on the turf for Furtado.
The five-year-old’s two career wins so far came on French ground described as good-to-soft and heavy and that suggests today’s forecast ease in the ground could see Moai in a better light.
3.50 – Prince Alex @ 9/4
The staying handicap at 15:50 can go the way of the Tom Dascombe-trained Prince Alex. The six-year-old has been trained by Michael Bell, Ralph Beckett and Johnny Murtagh in the past and he looks ready to get his head in front for Dascombe.
The son of Excelebration is a course and distance winner, and he scored off a mark of 89 on soft ground at Goodwood last year. His six wins from 18 flat starts also show a pretty healthy strike-rate.
Prince Alex ran with credit after rearing at the start on a surface that was probably a little too quick at Newmarket last time out, and he looks set to take the crown at Haydock this afternoon.
5.00 – Nigiri @ 7/4
The final race on the card can go the way of the unexposed Nigiri.
The three-year-old is making just her fourth career start on handicap debut this afternoon and she looks to be on a fair mark after her latest effort at Wolverhampton.
Nigiri reared and missed the break on her last start, but she flew home to finish third and she probably would have won if she had made a cleaner start.
Today’s mark of 68 could be underestimating the ability of the Beckett-trained runner.