Alan Dudman kicks off his seven days in the chair with selections from Friday's evening cards at Haydock and Newmarket...
"The daughter of Iffraaj started her career really well in 2014 when winning a 7f maiden on the July course. She looked good that day, smoothly going through the race and settling matters with a telling turn of foot."
17:45 Haydock: Paradise to be King for a day
This apprentice handicap has been kind to King Of Paradise down the years. He was second in the 2013 version, and he went one better last year in scooping the prize from a mark of 71. On both occasions he has led, and I think he's worth taking a chance on at around 5.04/1 in a race where he faces only three rivals.
Trained by Eric Alston, he is probably better known for his exploits around Hamilton. However, he goes OK around here, and in small fields at this venue, I'll take the front-runner.
Recently he didn't see out his race at Hamilton, and prior to that he didn't stay 1m6f (a trip he has never convinced over). He is quite tough, and he went down fighting when just denied in this three years ago.
The other angle is rider Ger O'Neill, a young jockey who has ridden a couple of winners recently for Declan Carroll. Crucially both those came from well-judged rides on horses that like to dominate (Mysterial and Save The Bees), and that's just the sort of guidance this veteran needs.
Likely favourite Cape Spirit is 0-14, so I'll swerve that one. King Of Paradise will be very dangerous if given some rope in front, especially from a mark 8lb lower than last year.
20:20 Newmarket - Filly can go well again at HQ
Ed Vaughan's Mehronissa looked a progressive filly last term, and she churned out a pair of wins at Windsor and Newmarket from marks of 77 and 85. She carried on the good work with her reappearance this season at Haydock - and I admired the way she stuck her head down to land that 0-90. She proved she was still on the upgrade.
The daughter of Iffraaj started her career really well in 2014 when winning a 7f maiden on the July course. She looked good that day, smoothly going through the race and settling matters with a telling turn of foot, and traditionally that has thrown up a good horse.
Connections went over slightly further in distance, but Vaughan has dropped her back to sprinting saying she has plenty of pace.
Her record over 6f reads: 4th, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd.
The make-up of this contest should suit too, I counted at least five of the field that have pressed on, and Mehronissa looks the type to chase a good pace.
She hasn't had too many blips, although the four-runner soft ground race at Newmarket was one last time (and she did hang). It was too bad to be true and she didn't help herself by over-racing as well. But she had previously made up a lot of ground in a York 0-100 handicap behind the impressive Mayfair Lady - and not many got involved from behind the pace there.
Rated 93, she looks overpriced in an open race at 15/2 on the Sportsbook.
Friday's Recommended Bets (both half point)
Back King Of Paradise @ 4.507/2 in the 17:45 at Haydock
Back Mehronissa @ 15/2 Sportsbook price in the 20:20 at Newmarket
Weekly P/L: 0.00
Previous week: -4.80
2015 P/L: +20.14