The connections of 2017 Grand National winner, One For Arthur, will be hoping for a safe round tomorrow as he continues his recovery mission having been off the track for so long and failing to finish on his comeback run.
And the Peter Marsh looks a particularly competitive handicap to test him with the market struggling to produce a clear favourite, every horse is in with some form of a shout.
But you have to like the chances of Haydock specialist CAPTAIN REDBEARD, who has finished in the top three on all six starts here. He was even second in this race 12 months ago off the same mark of 144. The slightly better going conditions will suit him this time around as compared to the really bottomless ground last year.
It’s fair to say that Captain Redbeard isn’t obviously well-handicapped, having remained on the same mark for his last five starts. But two of those runs were ran over the Grand National fences and two were over hurdles, so they can be excused.
His only proper start off this mark and over fences was on quick ground at Haydock here in November, when he ran a blinder, and was desperately unlucky as he got badly hampered by falling horses twice during the race. He eventually finished a couple of lengths behind Vintage Clouds and a repeat of that run will see him go very close here.
Otago Trail rates a big danger with a 7lb claimer aboard. But he may want slightly softer going and has a slight question mark surrounding him after his last run.
The other one I like though is RED INFANTRY, who has a very progressive staying chase profile, and looks the type to win a race of this nature. He will have to continue that progress as he races 10lbs higher than when winning over this course and a trip of 3m 4f back in November also.
Red Infantry was unquestionably the best horse on his next start, when unable to give 23lbs to Morning Wing in the London National Handicap Chase at Sandown in early December. The selection probably lost the race in the first mile, making his task all the more difficult with a few minor errors to get shuffled back, before showing his class to to finish a close second.
Ian Williams has freshened him up since, and he still has plenty of scope off his mark of 142.
The yard have future Grand National aspirations with plenty of stamina in his locker, but he’s also no slouch and he should have no problem tackling this 2f shorter trip having won twice over three miles and he continues to develop in the right direction.
1pt each-way Captain Redbeard @7/1, 15:15 Haydock, Saturday (four places, 1/5 odds various bookmakers)
1pt each-way Red Infantry @8/1, 15:15 Haydock, Saturday (four places, 1/5 odds various bookmakers)