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The Paul Mulrennan Column: Intense time at Haydock for Callum's comeback

By Paul Mulrennan
Sat 7 Sep 2019

Racing TV ambassador Paul Mulrennan gives his verdict on his five booked rides at Thirsk on Saturday and looks at events happening over at Haydock too

With five rides to look forward to at Thirsk, I’m hoping for a decent day on Saturday and there are a couple of particularly interesting ones in among them.

I rode Harswell Approach in his first three starts and I like him. A mile and a bit of ease in the ground is probably what he wants and the grade looks right for him in the Cliff Stud Rearing Winners Nursery Handicap. He ran a nice race at Beverley last time and I’d like to think he can go close for local trainer Liam Bailey.

Michael Dods runs one in each division of the Jenny Roberts Millinery EBF Novice Stakes and they would both have their chances.

Owned and bred by Kirsten Rausing, Cold Light Of Day looks like a filly who will appreciate this move up in trip to seven furlongs and she does everything nicely at home. I suspect she might be at her best next season, but if she was to win this on the way that would be great.

El Naseri comes from a good family and cost a few quid at the sales last year. He has been pleasing us for a while now and is absolutely crying out for a run, so it will be good to get him on track.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Mr Dods always likes to leave something to work on first time out, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he needs the experience here, but we like the way he is shaping.

We’re trying blinkers for the first time on Arcavallo in the Barkers of Northallerton Handicap. He perhaps hasn’t quite had the rub of the green a couple of times this season, but having said that he hasn’t done much to help himself at times. Hopefully the headgear will get him sparking again, because the handicapper has eased him in the weights and it would be great to see him get back to winning ways again.

Cape Cova used to be very highly-rated when he was with John Gosden not so long ago. He’s coming back from a long break in the Calverts Carpets Hambleton Cup and it will be interesting to see what he is capable of doing on his first start for Marjorie Fife.

While I am at Thirsk, the big race at Haydock is the Betfair Sprint Cup and Khaadem is the one that takes my eye as he moves back up into top-level company after blowing the Stewards’ Cup away at Goodwood last time. I know others will have their own views, but to my eyes that day he looked all the way like a Group One horse.

Callum Rodriguez has his first ride back after serving a six-month suspension and is on board Intense Romance, who will love the soft ground in the Betfair Be Friendly Handicap later on the Haydock card.

Callum won two Listed races on this mare last year and she means a lot to him. He has been working hard during his suspension, keeping his head down and grafting. He is a good guy and a talented young rider who made a mistake – and who can say they’ve never made a mistake?

Finally, it’s always worth remembering that there are some things more important than racing and the news that Harriet Bethell is showing some signs of progress after the horrible fall on the gallops that left her in a coma has been well received by all of us in the weighing room. I hope that she continues to move forwards in her recovery.

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