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Horse Racing - Racing: Keith Melrose's Haydock Tips

The card at Haydock on Saturday includes three races that will feature on the ITV coverage, including the Group 2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks and a major handicap in the bet365 Old Newton Cup. Racing Post betting editor Keith Melrose provides his best bets from across the card.

Solotov
1.35 Haydock @ 1/1
1pt win

The Gadget Man
2.05 Haydock @ 14/1
1pt each-way

Brentford Hope
3.15 Haydock @ 12/1
1pt each-way

She's A Mirage
3.50 Haydock @ 1/1
1pt win

French import ready for Solo flight

The opening sprint is an interesting race for three-year-olds. It would be a stretch to claim that Solotov is the most interesting, but he has been treated dismissively in the market and warrants attention with a visor replacing cheekpieces.

He is a half-brother to Donjuan Triumphant, a noted soft-ground lover who eventually triumphed at Group 1 level, and he looked promising when winning on his debut in France on Prix Du Jockey Club day last year.

That run remains a standout on his profile, but his two runs for Robert Cowell have been on much quicker ground and have resulted in his mark dropping by 10lb. With softer conditions likely to prevail here and Ray Dawson (Cowell's most-used jockey) booked for the first time, it could pay to take a chance on Solotov.

Go-go Gadget stamina

The Gadget Man looks just the right type for the £100k bet365 three-year-old handicap which follows. The race is over 1m6f and he is stepping up half a mile in trip, but he should have no trouble staying. His dam was at her best over 1m4f and his sire Jack Hobbs is being treated primarily as a jumps stallion.

He has some good maiden form to call on, he was beaten a neck at Newmarket in October over a mile and on his only run this year finished fifth in a race from which horses that finished ahead of him ran in the Derby and at Royal Ascot next time.

Soft ground may be important to The Gadget Man, his dam handled cut notably well and he was pulled out of a £50k race at Doncaster on Derby day because conditions were too quick. That he is being targeted at these competitive races gives encouragement that connections agree that he could be well treated off a mark of 84.

Hughes' big hope

All I am certain of in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks is Free Wind is not nailed on to come out on top after 10 months off. The bet365 Old Newton Cup is a more interesting betting race and I am interested in Brentford Hope.

Soft ground has always seemed important to this horse, he was almost favourite for the Lincoln last year after dotting up on heavy at this course the previous autumn but was pulled out on quick ground. He has reached minor Group level since, including a second to Classic winner Victor Ludorum, and his pedigree suggests he will get home over this slightly longer trip.

His jockey booking is also interesting. Deon Le Roux, a 7lb claimer, was booked earlier in the week and looked tidy when securing his first win last week. It could be the case that the jockey has been laid out for this race just as much as his mount.

Hannon to secure nursery joy

The 3.50 is the first nursery of the season, so it is a first opportunity for two-year-olds to run in handicaps. There do not look to be any handicap blots, but the chances of She's A Mirage having been underestimated are pretty high.

She was sixth in a race won by Albany winner Dramatised on debut and has seemingly been campaigned with nurseries in mind since. If nothing else, the delay in moving her up to 6f can be attributed to waiting for these events. Her dam won a Listed race over 7f on heavy towards the end of her juvenile season and She's A Mirage can be expected to improve in this company.

By Keith Melrose

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