Kevin takes on the favourite in the Nook Handicap
An each-way swing over at York
Read his expert analysis below
The Flat season has been well underway for two months now, but with the ground drying out across the UK and Ireland, it really does feel that the season has stepped up a gear.
The Derby and Royal Ascot are just around the corner, but before then we have an array of high-class action on both sides of the Irish Sea to enjoy on ITV Racing on Saturday.
There is some fantastic Group race action at Haydock, but my attention has been drawn to the staying handicap the Nook Handicap (13:50). This will bring together some old favourites, but they will all do well to cope with the Ian Williams-trained Law Of The Sea.
The five-year-old has had three different trainers in the last nine months or so, dropping a total of 12lb in the handicap until joining Williams this spring.
Pitched into the Chester Cup for his first start for Williams and sent off at 40/1, he very much outperformed those odds by producing a very eye-catching effort to finish fourth. Racing freely, he was hampered in the early stages and basically got zero luck throughout the race.
Considering all the adversity that he was faced with, it was a remarkable effort for him to finish as close as he did. Had he got any sort of a bounce of the ball, it seems likely that he would have been heavily involved in the finish.
Raised just 1lb for that effort and seeming likely to be suited by this slightly shorter trip, he would be a deserving winner after such a luckless experience at Chester. William Buick takes over from Franny Norton and he looks to have a very big chance.
Over at York, the Bronte Cup Fillies' Stakes (15:15) will see the return of Mimikyu who could well be a major player amongst the staying fillies' this year.
For all that her best form is well clear of her rivals here, there is plenty of interest amongst the rest and with nine runners set to line up, the each-way, place-only and betting without the favourite markets are all likely to be popular.
If one wishes to have a crack at one outside of the market leader, the stand-out option at the current prices is the Donnacha O'Brien-trained Moon Daisy.
The five-year-old was rated just 70 less than two years ago, but has steadily progressed up the ranks as her stamina has been drawn out. While she isn't the most straightforward conveyance at times, patient rides suit her and she arguably produced her best-ever effort on her latest start.
Pitched in against the boys in the Group 3 Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown, she sabotaged her own chance by missing the kick by at least half a dozen lengths.
Yet, she managed to work her way back into the race, finishing off well to only just miss out on grabbing third. That form reads well in the context of this race and she is likely to remain capable of better when not giving away so much ground at the start.
Conditions will suit her well in this contest and while she is currently pretty much the outsider of the field, she has a much better chance than those odds suggest and a big run should be forthcoming.
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