The last race at Haydock looks set to be an attritional staying handicap.
Firebird Flyer was a winner of the Midlands Grand National last year in similar conditions, but it will take a career best off his current mark to be victorious here.
Midnight Prayer will also need to produce a sterling effort to take the victory off his current mark, and it remains to be seen how he has come out of his last race at Cheltenham when being brought down by Cogry a week ago albeit a quick reappearance suggests there have been no ill-effects.
Straidnahanna is not the most reliable of jumpers, and Three Faces West has something to prove having massively disappointed on his season opener for the Hobbs yard, although he could be quite dangerous if able to bounce back over these conditions. However you would be taking a slight leap-of-faith backing him so soon after that showing.
Saroque looks a certainty for the shortlist as he goes well fresh and loves these types of staying contests. His front-running style will put several of these to the sword, and off just a 2lb higher mark against his best previous win, he is not lightly passed over. However, he may have less scope for improvement than one or two others in this field and instead we opt for one of the more unexposed types.
KAKI DE LA PREE could be a real class act as this nine-year-old has just five starts over fences during his career so far. He looks mightily progressive with plenty of scope off his current mark of 135, which he won off to get his chasing career going during the summer.
Noel Fehily takes the mount and his ride looks extremely versatile over ground conditions, but more importantly, a stout-stayer.
He will need to have plenty of bottle to win this race, but encouragement can be taken from the fact that he did not shirk the challenge in each of his last four starts when he came under pressure, finishing 2nd on three occasions to the likes of Ned Stark, and Gevrey Chambertain, who are half-decent chasers in their own right.
Kaki De La Pree looks an excellent jumper, which might just prove to be the difference, and he is taken to edge it at the finish against Venetia William’s charge who is also expected to be there or thereabouts.
1pt win Kaki De La Pree @4/1, 15:35 Haydock, SaturdayLeave a comment