Shraaoh seeking redemption
Shraaoh bids to recoup Epsom losses when he lines up for the bet365 Old Newton Cup at Haydock on Saturday.
The four-year-old, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, was sent off 5-4 favourite for a mile-and-a-half handicap on Derby day but could only finish fourth behind Soldier Of Action.
That was Shraaoh's first run since August and he enjoys a 5lb pull for being beaten three and three-quarter lengths by Mark Johnston's charge, who reopposes.
Connections of the Sea The Stars gelding expect a bold show in this valuable handicap on what will be only his eighth career start.
"He's in great form. Sir Michael has always loved the horse and always thought he would improve with age," said Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Al Shaqab Racing.
"It's a very competitive race, but it's the right sort of race for him to be in and hopefully we won't be another beaten favourite.
"Epsom is a tough track and the ground was not right for him. He's been crying out for decent ground. The ground at Haydock should be more to his liking and the track should suit him well.
"You need a nice draw ideally and he looks to have in seven. You don't want to be out wide."
Mick Appleby is ruing his luck after his two runners, Big Country and Farquhar, were handed the two widest draws of 18 and 19 respectively.
Big Country is the obvious first string, having gone from strength to strength this year already with three wins from four starts.
His only defeat of 2017 so far came over this distance at Newmarket after he had landed Kempton's Rosebery Handicap, but he regained the winning thread over an extended 10 furlongs at York three weeks ago.
"He's in great order and he'd have a very good chance, but he's got a bad draw," said Appleby.
"If he gets out and can track across, he'd take all the beating. He's a very good horse.
"We could do with a bit of rain for him, if it was too quick we probably wouldn't run."
Farquhar was third in this race two years ago when trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam and Appleby would not dismiss his claims either despite his poor draw.
"He's got a bad draw as well. He's in good order and hopefully he should run well, too. He's not without a chance on his best form," said the Rutland handler.
Irish hopes rest with Tony Martin's Moonmeister, who made a triumphant return after eight months off the track to score at Cork three weeks ago.
"We're very happy with him. He ran well in Cork the last day and has come out if it well," said the County Meath trainer.
"He seems in good form and he's entitled to have a whack at a race like this."
Dylan Mouth is burdened with joint top-weight of 9st 10lb but is dropping down in grade and trip, after finding a mile and three-quarters a step too far in a Listed race at York won by Dal Harraild.
Marco Botti, who trains the six-year-old, is optimistic of a decent run.
"Obviously it's a nice race and he's going down from a Listed race and is down in class," said Botti .
"He's on 104 which is a good mark for him and he's in good order.
"He's an older horse, but he's tough. Last time at York he ran a little bit too free and didn't really get home, so we're dropping him back to a mile and a half.
"He likes a left-handed track so hopefully he can run a good race."
Sir Chauvelin was declared a non-runner in the race on Friday and his place in the line-up will now be taken by another Jim Goldie-trained runner in Euchen Glen.
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