It's Betfair Sprint Cup day at Haydock on Saturday and Kevin Blake has two tips to consider on an excellent afternoon of racing...
"Returning to this longer trip on a slower surface will very much be in her favour and it wouldn’t surprise to see her produce a career-best effort and run a big race."
The Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock (15:30) is always one of the most important sprints in the entire European racing calendar. While it can often end up being run on rain-softened ground, this year is set to be run on a much firmer surface and that will delight the connections of the short-priced favourite Starman.
The son of Dutch Art had looked a superstar when overcoming notable trouble in running to win the July Cup in great style, but his brilliance seemed to be blunted by softer ground conditions in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last time.
Returning to a firmer surface is just what he needs and he is likely to take a great amount of beating, for all that his price reflects this. I will look to other races on the day in search of a winner or two.
Varian charge can gain compensation for luckless run
Earlier on the card, the "My Odds Boost" On Betfair Handicap (14:20) brings together a really interesting field of progressive staying handicappers, but none are more interesting than the Roger Varian-trained Praiano.
The son of Dubawi had looked a potential big improver when making a winning handicap debut at Leicester last month, but was denied his chance to build on that win due to notably poor luck in running on his next start at Sandown. Nothing went right for him on the day, but he still finished off the race strongly to come home in a never-nearer fourth. He is selected to get back on track in this contest.
Outsider worth considering each-way
Over at Kempton, the Sirenia Stakes (14:05) is perhaps a below-standard contest for a Group 3, but it is very competitive nevertheless. One that catches the eye at a big price in a race with favourable place terms is the Charlie Fellowes-trained Eve Lodge.
The daughter of Ardad made a particularly promising debut at Ascot in May prior to landing the odds in a novice event at Lingfield a fortnight later. Thrown in at the deep end for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, she shaped better than the bare result that day when finishing in mid-division under a very quiet ride.
Given she had seemed the type to prefer an ease in the ground, her connections took a chance by running her on firmer ground back over the minimum trip in a novice event at Yarmouth, but she found the subsequent Group 3 winner Romantic Time too good for her.
Returning to this longer trip on a slower surface will very much be in her favour and it wouldn't surprise to see her produce a career-best effort and run a big race.
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