Steve Hughes has two selections for Haydock’s Sunday fixture
There is some decent jumps racing courtesy of Haydock and Taunton on Sunday, but I am going to concentrate on the fixture in Merseyside.
Haydock 2.00: West of the Edge
Second in this race last season from an identical rating of 128, West of the Edge can go one place better today in more suitable conditions than he has faced to date this term.
I am happy to write off his first two runs as he is too slow these days to be competitive over hurdles and then the going at Kelso was too fast last time. Soft, heavy in places is what he wants and he is back down to the same mark as when excelling last winter.
Second to Emperors Choice in this contest, he then went on to place second to Baywing in the Eider at Newcastle where perhaps the extended 4m just tapped his stamina reserves unduly. 3M3f on a sharp track will be fine – his last win came around Warwick over 3m5f in the spring of 2017, a track not totally dissimilar to Haydock.
Haydock 2.30: Ice Cool Champs
The rule brought in last year that allows horses rated just higher than the ceiling for the race can be used to good effect by Philip Hobbs, who saddles Ice Cool Champs from a mark of 131 in this race for horses rated 0-130.
The 7yo made a satisfactory reappearance at Sandown earlier this month in a class 2 contest, ultimately finishing fourth having got tired late on. He is entitled to come on for that and can drop in grade to a class 3 courtesy of this new regulation, albeit it means he has plenty of weight to carry.
However I think he simply may be too classy for this opposition. Certainly conditions will be in his favour – he last won at Uttoxeter last November over this trip on heavy going and his form over fences later in the season can be excused as the Hobbs team was out of form at the time.
0.75pts each-way – West of the Edge – 2.00 Haydock – 7/1 Bet365, BetVictor
1pt win – Ice Cool Champs – 2.30 Haydock – 5/1 Bet365