Plenty to run for in the 15.45 at Haydock Park.
The Betfred Silver Bowl at Haydock is laden with improving handicappers, as one would expect of a 3-y-o handicap with £70,000 on offer. The race is characterised by a host of intertwining form lines, and working out the value of collateral form will be crucial for intrepid punters.
Most bookmakers, ourselves included, have elevated William Haggas’ Bilimbi to favouritism on the back of a defeat of Extra Noble at Musselburgh on his handicap debut – he’s 4/1 at the time of writing.
That came on fast ground, but he was equally impressive when landing his maiden on heavy at Yarmouth, so the forecast rain shouldn’t detract from his chance, and with Ryan Moore taking over from James Sullivan, the gelding will rightly be popular.
Heading the list of dangers is Ed Dunlop’s expensive purchase Zarwaan. Winner of a 6f maiden at the track on his second start, he returned to finish second to the exciting Muwaary at Newbury in a race which has already thrown up more than its share of future winners (Hors de Combat back in fifth).
The winner is a high-class colt who ran with credit in the French Guineas, and the form is red hot. The nagging doubt about Zarwaan’s chance here is that Dunlop has been slow to hit stride this term, and at the time of writing is 0-39 on turf for the season. Zarwaan has the class to buck that trend, but is hard to support with absolute confidence while his stable labours under a cloud.
Hors de Combat did his bit for the Newbury form when beating Born In Bombay at Newmarket next time, but the feeling is that the runner-up will prove the better of the pair at the weights, as he was a little too keen given the steady gallop, but managed to lead briefly before the winner collared him. There may not be much between the pair again, but the combination of a small swing in the weights and natural progression will enable him to turn the tables on his erstwhile conqueror.
Lyn Valley finished third that day, but the Jekyll & Hyde nature of the Mark Johnston yard (five of six fancied runners on Wednesday and Thursday finished tailed off) is always a worry.
Red Stargazer and Chatez are another pair who clashed last time, with the former scoring narrowly in a easy-ground C&D event. There may well be more to come from the pair, who remain closely matched but a combined rise of 11 lbs between them is stiff enough, and they are vulnerable to others in this valuable affair.
Further rain would be a boost to the chances of What About Carlo, who improved when winning in the mud at Sandown on his handicap debut, and should do better despite having had more racing than a few of his rivals.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s charge had First Flight back in third there, but the latter wasn’t well placed as things went, and is capable of better under the excellent Andrea Atzeni. One who looks thoroughly exposed, but would be dangerous to dismiss is Braidley, who wasn’t himself on his final 2-y-o start, but had slammed a competitive field in a Doncaster nursery prior to that, and may be overpriced on his return.
The BetBright Verdict
Win Only: Bilimbi (4/1)
Each-Way alternative: Braidley (16/1)
The race goes off at 3.45pm at Haydock Park tomorrow afternoon.
You can have a bet on the Silver Bowl on our horse racing betting page now