Harry Angel can soar in Sandy Lane
Progressive son of Dark Angel to deliver for Cox in Haydock feature
Aidan O'Brien has enough to worry about at the Curragh as he bids for an 11th victory in the Irish Guineas but he has sent Alphabet over to Haydock - presumably with the aim of black type - for the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes today.
O'Brien had stronger possibilities for this race.
Ger Lyons could have run Psychedelic Funk, but he was in action last weekend and he instead relies on the first-time blinkered Medicine Jack, which is available at 25/1.
This Group Two prize is unlikely for export and the thrice-raced Harry Angel can do the job for Clive Cox. The progressive son of Dark Angel won a Group Two as a maiden at two and, despite running a little fresh on his reappearance, he performed with great credit to finish second to Blue Point - an extremely reliable sort, which got to within a length and three parts of Churchill in the Dewhurst.
Harry Angel holds Mubtasim on that running, so Second Thought - which was kept going earlier in the year on the all-weather - could be the main threat. This, however, does represent a hike in class.
O'Brien has a better chance in the Temple Stakes in the shape of Washington DC, with Wayne Lordan sent to Haydock for the mount. The Zoffany colt has had three starts this season and is perfectly solid but preference is for the filly Quiet Reflection from the Karl Burke yard.
She was not quite at her best at Ascot when last seen in October, but she rarely disappoints and is worth her rating of 116. She travels well in her races.
ITV4 also broadcasts two handicaps at Haydock, including the Amix Ready Mixed Concrete Handicap. Parliamentarian is a pretty versatile sort trip-wise, though there may be a slight doubt about today's distance, and My Reward may prove the answer. The son of Rail Link can make the pace and he appreciated the two miles when winning at Ripon for Tim Easterby.
The Amix Silver Bowl Handicap is an open contest and Naval Warfare makes some appeal. The Born To Sea-bred went straight from maiden victory to scoring at Leicester on his handicap debut, making all. While 8lb higher, there is more to come in all probability.
Goodwood's televised fare commences with the Matchbook Betting Exchange Festival Stakes. The Paul Cole-trained Berkshire, which shaped quite nicely on his return to action in a Chester handicap, has solid each-way credentials under Luke Morris.
Abdon is likely to make the market here. Michael Stoute's four-year-old does, however, have to improve from a fairly laboured reappearance at Newmarket.
Mount Logan has to be feared. He was turned over at 4/6 at Goodwood in September but he is a proper horse on his day and he scored on his reappearance at Goodwood last May.
Goodwood's seven-furlong handicap is notable for the rise that Bless Him incurred for finishing third in another handicap at Doncaster. Most unusually, he went up 7lb, which is a tough one for connections, but he is a promising sort and the hood today could be the making of him.
Moreover, Aaron Jones prises off 3lb, and the Qatar Racing colt makes plenty of appeal for David Simcock.
Two races from York also form part of the programme, including the weddingmates.co.uk Grand Cup Stakes. Frontiersman makes plenty of appeal here for Charlie Appleby, having justified favouritism in ready style at Newmarket under William Buick earlier in the month. He is a really classy type.
There was good news for Buick this week as he lost his appeal against a suspension he received at York last Friday but is still free to ride at the Investec Derby meeting at Epsom. York's stewards banned the jockey for five days after he was found guilty of careless riding aboard Alqamar, which won a mile-and-a-half handicap that brought the three-day Dante meeting to a close. His suspension was reduced to four days.
Virtually anything could win the Unibet Sprint Stakes. Pat Shanahan targets many races in Britain and Taexali is not without a chance, though he will need a little luck in running.
Pipers Note is a shot in the dark here. He was placed in a hot course handicap last October at 33/1 and he has dropped 2lb since, giving him some sort of chance for trainer Ruth Carr.
Watching Brief . . .
Aidan O’Brien must lament the loss of Scat Daddy as a stallion every time he sets eyes on one of his fastest sons, Caravaggio, and the sire’s qualities were again evinced at Tipperary on Thursday.
His son, Murillo, was sent off second-favourite in the opening maiden after a relatively uninspiring debut effort. This was no surprise, as Wolfofbaggotstreet had shown a nice bit at Navan and went off odds-on.
Murillo tracked him, still looking a bit green, and picked him up without much fuss, before stretching away.
“I didn’t have to give him a belt,” said rider Seamus Heffernan afterwards. “He is a big, scopey lad and I’d say he’ll be heading to Ascot. He showed us a little bit at home and he ran so bad at the Curragh, it just wasn’t his run but he did it well today.”
Another Scat Daddy son, Dali, was initially favourite for the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting. It seems bizarre that Murillo, which is clearly very smart, has not yet been introduced to the betting.