Having ridden at Newcastle on Thursday, it seemed logical to drive back down South via Haydock and stay there for a few days covering both Friday and Saturday. The main reason for the trip is to ride Art Power in Saturday’s Group One feature, the Haydock Sprint Cup and I’m hoping he can once again prove what a good horse he is. For whatever reason he just didn’t fire at York and I’m just hoping we get to see the real Art Power on Saturday. Everything looks in place for a good run and he won’t mind all the rain that has hit the track in the build-up. Anyway, more about his chances and my other two rides on the afternoon below…
URBAN WAR (1.10pm – Ascendant Stakes)
My first ride of the afternoon is Urban War in the opener for Amy Murphy. I rode him to finish third on his debut at Lingfield early last month where he kept on nicely to finish third. He then took a big step forward when doing it nicely at Ripon over a mile a couple of weeks ago. You had to have been impressed by that performance and he deserves a crack at a Listed prize like this one. However, he will have to take another step forward if he is to land a pot like this, but he’s an exciting prospect going the right way. He should be fine on the ground as long as if it doesn’t get really bad. Richard Hannon’s Fancy Man could be the one to beat.
1.45pm Haydock – Superior Mile
No ride for me in the Superior Mile which looks pretty wide open. Khaloosy could be hard to beat returning to a soft surface, but I’d take another chance on old-friend Dark Vision. He’ll like the small field and will also be happy on the ground. William (Buick) knows him pretty well now and looks sure to try and pounce on these late on.
INDIANAPOLIS (2.50pm – Old Borough Cup)
I’m really looking forward to getting back aboard Indianapolis for James Given in the Old Borough Cup. Despite the fact that this is a typically tough looking staying handicap, this looks the perfect race for him. James has brought him along nicely and he has been running really well in similar type contests. He gave me a nice feel at Goodwood two starts back and showed he stays really well when a close up fourth over two miles at York last time. He has won on bad ground in the past so that shouldn’t be a problem either. I suppose if there is one negative it’s the fact that he has landed stall 17 which makes life that little bit tougher. He does have a bit of tactical speed though, so we may just try and get out promptly and hold a decent pitch – like everyone else! Looking at the others and I guess you have to fear Ebor runner-up Glencadam Glory despite the 5lbs rise. The other one to mention is Mark Johnston’s Cape Coast who is drawn well, handles the ground and may still be well handicapped.
ART POWER (3.25pm – Sprint Cup)
The feature race of the afternoon is the Sprint Cup where once again I team up with Art Power who was so disappointing in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last time. It’s a strange one as nothing ever came to light as to why he ran the way he did. Tim (Easterby) said he got home and ate up as usual and has been in grand form since. He just felt very flat. Even when I was cantering down to post he felt lethargic and quiet. Normally a sprinter like him would give you a totally different feel. When the gates opened, he was slow to react and simply never grabbed hold of the bridle. That was definitely not his true running and you just have to put a line through it. Looking at the opposition here, you have to respect the likes of Dream Of Dreams and Hello Youmzain. They are top class sprinters and I know Art Power will have to be on his A-game to cause them any bother. It’s just we know he is a very good horse on his day and if he is firing again, it will take a good one to beat him. The trip and ground are all in his favour and I’m just desperate for him to bounce back.