FRANK AND TOM FITZGERALD HANDICAP (CLASS 3) (3yo+ 0-90) Winner £6,663, Heavy 1m Number of runners: 10
This race over the past ten years have favoured the younger runners, with the exception of Sarraaf who won it as a 7yo back in 2003 all the other nine winner have been aged either 3yo or 4yo with the last two winners being 4yo’s and Six of those nine winners were carrying 9-1 or more. No 3yo entrants this year but we have two 4yo’s who are both carrying 9-1 or more and those are Chosen Character and Amaze.
Tom Dascombe’s Chosen Character is the one of those two which I shall be siding with; he has been in fine form this year and has won four of his last seven runs. He has form at the track having won two from three starts here including one over course and distance, he is overall a three time winner over the mile and although no previous runs on heavy ground, he has won on soft in the past. His latest victory came at Chester over a mile last time out when winning off a mark of 82 and that mark was 6lbs higher than his previous win and also 6lbs higher than his best win as a 3yo. This year he has shown that he has improved since turning four and has been very consistent, he will have to continue to improve with another move up the handicaps as the handicapper has put him up to a career high of 87 which means a 5lb rise since his win at Chester.
Natasha Eaton returns to the saddle today and in doing so she brings along her 5lb claimers allowance which means in theory as Franny Norton was not claiming last time out that he is off the same mark with the claim but obviously has less experience in the saddle but for me that is no concern whatsoever as Natasha has been in the saddle four times and has notched up two victories and a runner up finish so she gets on well with this runner. The Dascombe yard has been in decent form of late too with 7 winners over the past fortnight for a strike rate of 23% which is the same strike rate as the yard has here at Haydock with a record of 25-111.
Not many of the runners in this field have experience on heavy ground, only five of them have run on it with only Kyllachy Star having recorded a win. There is some bang out of form jockeys in this race, Fergus Sweeney (0-23), Barry McHugh (0-24) and James Sullivan (0-36) have not had a good last couple of weeks and Sweeney & Sullivan are on-board two of the market leaders for this race. Tiger Reigns looks to be the best of the rest for me, yes he has been in shocking form this year but now down to a mark of 80 which is his lowest since June of 2009 and now 17lbs lower than his last win, a course and distance winner and has placed on heavy ground too.
For me however Chosen Character has been consistent this year and has been improving all season long, Natasha comes into the saddle to eliminate the rise in the handicaps and for me she can produce her third win in the saddle of this runner here at Haydock today.
BET: CHOSEN CHARACTER (2pt Win)