We’re really keen on last year’s second, Balty Boy’s, in the Group Three Betfred Superior Mile on Saturday. Last weekend he wisely swerved an encounter with star three-year-old Kodi Bear at Goodwood and looks set to take his chance again at Haydock.
The horse that beat him last year, Captain Cat, did take his chance at Goodwood and was firmly put in his place by Clive Cox’s rising star for the second time in two runs – he also got spanked by Kodi Bear at Salisbury just three weeks ago, along with the re-opposing Moohaarib; we fancy neither.
With Balty Boys now in Brian Ellison’s ranks, he looks a better horse this year and has a great chance to reverse last year’s placings with forecast conditions to suit. He won a nice handicap at Newmarket in May and most recently in July run a blinder chasing Heaven’s Guest home over seven furlongs on the King George undercard, when giving him 8lbs on soft ground. That was a really eye-catching performance, moving through the gears from the back to only be denied top honours in a photo. But for another stride he’d have certainly won, so the step up to a mile looks perfect and he’s fancied to run a big race. 5/1, though, is not an appealing price with a proven Group One performer in the field, so we are reluctantly passing this time.
That performer and chief threat looks to be Ivawood, who hasn’t trained on as hoped as a three-year-old and looks vulnerable with any soft in the going. I was keen to take him on in this but was expecting him to be priced up around the 6/4-2/1 mark; the 3/1 offered by race sponsors Betfred is simply too good to pass for the undoubted class horse in the race. The clincher is the recent Deauville form in the Group One Prix Maurice De Gheest won by Muhaarar. With a clearer run he would have finished closer to the winner and, with second-placed Esoterique notching a Group One at the same track the following weekend, the form is top-class and way ahead of what’s required for tomorrow. He looked like he needed the step up to a mile and with Deauville and Haydock being such similar, flat tracks, it bodes well for his chances. Top-class sprinter Gordon Lord Byron was third in the same Deauville race and has an outstanding record at Haydock, so omens are good and 3/1 is a very generous price worth taking.
There’s nothing else in the race that stands out a threat, so a small covering bet is advised on Balty Boys at 5/1. With Let’s Go representing the same connections and fitting a similar profile to last week’s Salisbury winner Racing History – an 8/1 winner for 2Pts Win after being backed into an SP of 9/2 – any strong market support would be a big tip in itself.
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2pts win Ivawood @3/1 with Betfred [non-runner, stake refunded]
0.4pts win Balty Boys @5/1 with Betfred