Seven races from Haydock Park on Friday, Sept 8th, between 1.30pm and 4.55pm. There’s five handicaps and a couple of novice stakes affairs, with James Doyle and William Buick among the elite jocks present.
13.30 Shadow Dance @ 7/2
A Class 4 handicap over just short of a mile-and-a-half. The selection is a 3-yr-old colt trained by Roger Varian and ridden by The Doyler, who we mentioned in our intro. High-class combination – and Shadow Dance, making his handicap debut, can oblige on what will be his fourth career start.
Nice, consistent level of form achieved thus far at around 10 furlongs (didn’t run as a 2-yr-old), so this trip should be fine. A son of Almanzor, best at just shorter than this, he’s been found lacking in finishing kick so far and the additional distance can suit beautifully.
You need to get home at Haydock, whatever the going – Grade 1 track, and a long, stamina-testing haul up the straight to the line. Shadow Dance’s efforts suggest so far that any potential lack of electric gears could be compensated for with plenty of resolve at the business end.
14.35 Soul Seeker each-way @ 7/1
A bit of a standing dish in lower-end competitive sprint handicaps of late, and he operates at a terrific level of consistency.
Gets Will Buick up top, not for the first time, and was 3rd at Catterick a couple of weeks ago off 2lb higher. Finishes his races well – and if you revisit my remarks above about the nature of this track you’ll know how much I appreciate that quality, especially here in the north-west.
This is a lower-league superstar. The kind of horse we’d all love to own. He’s far more likely to run his race than most, and at the price we’ll have an each-way play with fingers firmly crossed (we’re paying 4 places).
Admirable 6-yr-old with iron constitution, ridden by a gifted champion at the height of his powers. He’ll do for me.
15.45 Prairie Falcon @ 4/1
Running-on third in a slightly less exalted contest over this 7f trip at Thirsk last time, and ran an ordinary race here in the grade in early July. That perhaps came a bit too soon after a cracking run at Donny though just a week earlier, and after a gelding op in June he could now be ready to shine.
Michael Dods trains, and Cliff Lee rides for the first time. Prairie Falcon is very experienced for a 3-yr-old, and is the model of consistency. He runs here off 76, a mark he’s been successful at in the past.