The mile-and-a-half Old Newton Cup is a terrific, historic race which now serves as the perfect amuse-bouche to the fascinating Coral-Eclipse 20 minutes later.
It’s a wonderful betting race in its own right, at least that’s usually the case, though this time around there is a very solid short-priced favourite. We will take him on though.
It may be flat around Haydock, but it takes a lot of getting on soft ground meaning the typical 1m4f horse can struggle to produce its best.
Richard Hughes’ runner was pretty spectacular on debut back in late 2019 during a run that had people talking of the Derby.
As it turned out, he was never suited to a Derby nor had the class, but he has been good and is also admirably consistent.
He’s well known as a ground-dependent type, so in getting his favoured soft conditions and with a 7lb claimer taking weight off he’d have a chance, though he’s drawn wide and may still be handicapped too highly.
William Haggas is having some time of things and one pattern that is showing is his ability to keep improving horses, leading to them winning multiple times in a row.
One such type is Gaassee, our rock-solid favourite who was beaten on debut but had won all four starts since.
He won at Kempton, Newcastle and Chester last year, seeing out 1m4f well and handling soft ground. He came out for the strong Jorvik handicap at York in May which he won well, now he returns and still looks nicely handicapped.
On breeding, he’s by Sea The Stars out of a Monsun mare, these tougher conditions should’nt bother him and he must still have at least 5lbs in hand on the assessors, maybe more.
The combination of David O’Meara and Danny Tudhope should keep any bookmaker honest at the best of times, but given what Get Shirty has achieved they will be particularly watchful.
The six-year-old has been a soft ground 1m4f winner and a 1m6f winner in his last two runs, latterly beating the likes of Cleveland in the Copper Horse at Royal Ascot.
Based on that last run he’s now handicapped up to his best, but he may yet improve further and is yet another out of a Monsun mare who will be battling on when others wilt.
In Liverpool Knight’s last three runs, he’s won once over near enough one and a half miles on soft ground and saw out one and three-quarters on Tapeta at Wolverhampton.
He’s a Golden Horn, he has enough experience to be able to handle this, while also looking like a horse who has plenty more to come. Ray Dawson rides for Kevin Philippart De Foy.
Trainer Andrew Balding has a similar chance in the race with a different 4yo filly, but this one could be his main play under jockey David Probert.
Both of Something Enticing’s turf wins have come when there has been juice in the ground. She was also second at 18/1 in a Listed race at Doncaster over a mile and a quarter.
Putting it all together over this trip is an unknown for her, but there is encouragement there for us and Balding’s is a yard not to ignore in races of this type.
Trawlerman is a fascinating contender, trained by John and Thady Gosden who have been in the news plenty since effectively splitting from their partnership with Frankie Dettori.
It has to be said; Dettori made plenty of mistakes at Royal Ascot with one of them, perhaps going under the radar, being on this horse in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.
He was very much expected to go close in that event. As it turns out, he probably wouldn’t have beaten Candleford anyway but he never really had a chance from the off.
Trawlerman was kept out the back early, which was far from ideal, was never in contention, though was clearly still full of running at the turn by which time his chance had gone and he was tenderly handled thereafter.
His two wins have come on good to firm ground and on Polytrack, but as a Golden Horn/Monsun cross there is more than a little evidence to show he should thrive here. He was also an unlucky loser on Tapeta over 1m4f as far back as on his second ever run last March. Big chance.
Plenty of these appear to be giving their trainers hope considering they’ve been waiting for just these conditions.
Gaassee is one who could again go on, but he’s very short in the betting. Despite his wider draw, TRAWLERMAN is taken to give the Gosdens and Godolphin compensation for what happened at Ascot.
He’s most certainly well handicapped enough for this race and there is evidence to suggest he’ll be well at home on softer ground. It might even bring the best out of him.