Irish-trained winners of the Betfair Sprint Cup are a collector’s item – there have been only two in its 53-year history - but Forever In Dreams looks massively overpriced at 22-1 to help redress the balance at Haydock on Saturday.
She split Advertise and Hello Youmzain in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot 11 weeks ago, with such as Ten Sovereigns and Khaadem left trailing.
That form has a glow and the three-year-olds look stronger than their older counterparts with the first five home in the July Cup all having represented the Classic generation.
In the absence of Advertise and Ten Sovereigns, Khaadem has been promoted to favourite but I cannot have the Stewards’ Cup winner on my mind at a best price of 100-30 given he looked beaten fair and square at the Royal Meeting and may also be at his most effective on quicker ground.
Forever In Dreams will lack nothing in freshness, has a Haydock win on her CV and is also proven on an easy surface. Dream Ahead, her sire, was a brilliant Middle Park winner in the mud and also won the Sprint Cup in 2011.
The bookmakers have clearly dismissed her Commonwealth Cup run as a fluke but I don’t see any reason to doubt it and, given she has size and scope, there could be even better to come after deliberately being given a break.
I’m also going to have a small bet on Hello Youmzain at 8-1 as he got a little edgy in the preliminaries and fluffed the start at Ascot. In the circumstances he did well to make the frame.
Like Forever In Dreams, he has since been given time to catch his breath and his previous exploits at Haydock indicate he is well served by the demands of the track. The slower ground will also not inconvenience him and it would be no surprise if he took another jump forwards.
The main support race, on a card where are all the contests are sponsored by Betfair, is the Group Three Superior Mile Stakes.
Sharjah Bridge is favoured by the weights, drops in class, goes well fresh and has been gelded since last in action but he’s not been missed in the betting and instead I cannot resist the 7-1 on offer about Raising Sand.
I’m usually wary of backing top handicappers switched to pattern company but he was better than ever when landing the International Stakes at Ascot last time, won on his only previous start at Haydock and will get the soft ground he relishes.
Moreover, he should get the end-to-end gallop that brings out the best in him as plenty in the field usually like to get on with things.
Melrose runner-up First In Line will be popular in the Better Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap but he’s had only a fortnight to recover from a hard race on the Knavesmire and Trueshan makes more appeal at 11-1 with bet365.
It looked a case of the further the better for Alan King’s charge when he won with his ears pricked in a slick time over 1m 4f at Ffos Las last time. The extra couple of furlongs seems certain to suit him and he is open to any amount of more improvement on his handicap bow.
The combination of a first-time visor and soft ground almost tempted me to back Crystal King at 16-1 for the Betfair Exchange Old Burrough Cup but my shortlist for the race became a longlist and so it’s a swerve.
At Ascot, Rhythmic Intent is worth a nibble at a general 14-1 in the Lavazza Stakes.
Stuart Williams’ improver had caught the eye in a couple of 10-furlong handicaps before confirming he is all about stamina when winning a 1m 4f maiden in decisive style from Arabist (who himself went one better at Haydock on Thursday) at Newbury last time.
It’s a competitive race but he is running from the right end of the handicap and we’ve yet to see the best of him.
The double-figure odds offered about Spanish City in the Cunard Handicap are also worth a second look.
He is 4lb higher than when a close fourth in last year’s renewal but that is offset by the booking of promising 7lb claimer Marco Ghiani in a race where apprentices have ridden the winner in four of the past five runnings.
Spanish City won with something to spare at Yarmouth last time and Ghiani showed what he was capable of when winning a big-field sprint handicap at Ascot on Friday.
Open Wide also has the services of an apprentice and that can help tip the scales in his balance in the Fever-Tree Handicap.
He needs delivering late but he has been in excellent heart all summer and should be excused his narrow reverse at Goodwood last time as he did not get the rub of the green.
My final fancy of the day is Quick Breath, available at 12-1 for the Visit sunracing.co.uk Handicap at Kempton.
He has a good record at the track and his effort there last time, when a creditable fourth, should be marked up as he raced on the wing and could have done with a stronger pace.
Thomas Greatrex has been in great form in the past couple of weeks and rides him for the first time.
How To Bet £20 On Saturday:
1.50 Haydock: Trueshan £2.50 win at 11-1 with bet365
2.25 Haydock: Raising Sand £2.50 win at a general 7-1
2.45 Ascot: Spanish City £3 win at a general 10-1
3.55 Ascot: Rhythmic Intent £2.50 win and at a general 14-1
4.10 Haydock: Forever In Dreams £2 win and £1 each-way at a 22-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power
4.30 Ascot: Open Wide £2 win at 7-1 with Coral
5.35 Kempton: Quick Breath £2 win at 14-1 with Coral
16p Win Super Heinz and 40p each-way accumulator. General odds in brackets
1.50 Haydock: Trueshan (10-1)
2.25 Haydock: Raising Sand (7-1)
2.45 Ascot: Spanish City (10-1)
3.55 Ascot: Rhythmic Intent (14-1)
4.10 Haydock: Forever In Dreams (20-1)
4.30 Ascot: Open Wide (6-1)
5.35 Kempton: Quick Breath (12-1)
Select any odd to add a bet