'He goes there with every chance' - key quotes for the valuable stayers' hurdle
Saturday: 2.25 Haydock
Betfair Exchange Stayers' Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) | 3m½f | 4yo+ | ITV/RTV
Advocates of the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival might dispute the assertion that this staying handicap hurdle is the best of its kind in Britain, but the roll of honour supports that claim.
The who's who of future Grade 1 operators concluding their days in handicaps at Haydock includes Sam Spinner (2017) and Paisley Park (2018), picking up the baton from past staying stars Diamond Harry, Grands Crus and Dynaste in a golden period between 2009 and 2011.
Pinpointing unexposed five and six-year-olds is integral to solving this prestigious prize and the likes of Might I, Good Risk At All and Gentleman At Arms possess profiles synonymous of a typical winner.
Good Risk At All and, to a lesser extent, Gentleman At Arms have already somewhat shown their hand to the assessor, whereas Might I rates the likeliest with untapped potential and the capacity to scale greater heights.
Might I ran with credit behind Constitution Hill and Jonbon in novices over 2m last campaign and advanced his form with a staying-on second to Three Stripe Life in the 2m4f Grade 1 Mersey Novices' Hurdle at Aintree.
Three miles is an unknown for Might I, although his supporters can draw encouragement from his pedigree. He is a half-brother to last season's National Hunt Chase winner Stattler.
Get A Tonic is another with an interesting profile for the team who saddled the second in this last season and makes some each-way appeal.
The Dan Skelton-trained six-year-old defied her novice status to run a fine second to subsequent two-time Grade 1 winner Marie's Rock off level weights at Warwick in February and arrives off the back of a career-best effort on Racing Post Ratings at Ayr in April. A mark of 133 could significantly underestimate her long-term prospects.
Race analysis by Robbie Wilders
Oscar up for another big prize
He said he would be here and he gave everyone six weeks' notice. But that does not make it any easier to get the better of his horse this time.
Run For Oscar was an impressive winner of the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last month, being eased off after going clear inside the final furlong yet still having more than three lengths to spare at the line.
That stylish success hinted at a future in Group races on the Flat but Charles Byrnes' first thought was: "He's also on a nice mark over hurdles" and the trainer added: "There's a race at Haydock Park that jumps into my mind straight away."
Which is why Run For Oscar is here, attempting to add another £72,000 to the £119,000 he has earned in two visits to Britain this year.
Byrnes said: "I've been very happy with his preparation and he has schooled well. There are a couple of negatives. I'd be concerned about the softening ground – they are getting an awful lot of rain – and he has a lot of weight for a small horse.
"We're lucky to get Dan King – he is a very good claimer – so he's taking a few pounds off.
"He ran over three miles at Wetherby last year but he made his ground around the last bend that day and hit the front nearly three furlongs out and then weakened, so I wouldn't read too much into that."
What they say
Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Wholestone
He ran very well last time and the extra half mile and softer ground will definitely help him.
Gary Moore, trainer of Botox Has
He goes there with every chance. He's been working very well, and we're taking a useful 7lb off [with Caoilin Quinn]. He'll like the ground and there are no negatives.
Stuart Edmunds, trainer of Gentleman At Arms
He's a big price but he goes there with every chance and this has been the plan since Aintree last season. We wouldn't want the ground to get too heavy but we were pleased with his first run back, he needed it a little and he'll improve for it.
Sam Thomas, trainer of Good Risk At All
I'm hopeful but my slight concern would be his Carlisle win was only 20 days ago. It was good to get him back on track and he won nicely, but it was less than three weeks ago.
Nick Alexander, trainer of Wakool
He was exceptional first time out at Ayr, I was really pleased with him as he was racing off a high mark and we always thought this could be his next run if all went well there. The track and the ground will be fine, but he has gone up 9lb.
Harry Fry, trainer of Might I
We're stepping him up to three miles but everything suggests he will stay. If he's going to prove to be a Graded hurdler over this trip, he's going to have to go very close off a mark off 142.
Dan Skelton, trainer of Get A Tonic
I've had this race in mind for her since she came back in. She stays three miles well and the ground won't be an issue.
Reporting by David Carr
Saturday's race previews:
1.50 Haydock: 'He should be hard to beat' - Nicholls swerves L'Homme Presse test with Hitman
2.05 Ascot: Can Britain's top Gold Cup hope L'Homme Presse be troubled on his return?
2.40 Ascot: 'We'd have concerns if it dried too much' - Nicky Henderson on Constitution Hill
3.00 Haydock: Betfair Chase: A Plus Tard will be fine on the ground says confident De Bromhead
3.15 Ascot: Who can capitalise in this handicap chase with Edwardstone ruled out?
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