A fascinating renewal of the the Swinton handicap hurdle at Haydock, run over two miles and what is expected to be unseasonably soft ground.
Rowland Ward won a competitive handicap at Aintree last time out beating the reopposing Camprond and Copperless.
But that doesn’t tell the full story. The ground was quicker that day than is likely at Haydock, and Rowland Ward had a wind op and first time tongue tie to assist him that day.
Camprond who finished second that day will handle the softer conditions arguably better than Rowland Ward and I would expect him to turn the tables on his rival, although the Hobbs team are still hit and miss.
Copperless who also featured in that Aintree race is probably the most intriguing of the trio. He looked to be travelling like the winner that day when falling two out. A touch of guess work required to figure out if he’d have won that day, but certainly looked set to feature.
Defining Battle is almost certainly well handicapped, but any further rain will make this a test, and there’s a small question mark about his stamina.
No the rain has arrived a chance is taken with Ballinsker. You can ignore has latest two runs on ground that was too quick. His form before then behind The Shunter and Milkwood looks very good in the context of this race. Off a lower mark than those two good efforts and going that suits, he looks great value.
written by Matt Polley