There are just the six runners for this Class 3 handicap chase, however four of them are very tightly grouped on ratings and it will be an interesting race which I feel has some value attached to it.
Daveron has been in fine form this year, winning over this distance on soft going at Wincanton and Ludlow. Those two wins have seen him rise twelve pounds in the ratings and given that he only got home by a neck at Ludlow, I think the extra six pounds that he is carrying today will prove too much.
Some buckle for Paul Nicholls is at the top of the handicap and made his chase debut last time out at Taunton. He was pulled up that day on heavy ground and it is a safe assumption that he will be a lot more at home on today's sounder surface. He didn't win any of his hurdle races when he went handicapping however and I think he is still too high in the weights to be given a realistic chance of taking the spoils here today.
Deadly Sting hasn't been seen for over 300 days when landing a novice chase at Worcester. This is a step up in class from that race and the way he was staying on at the finish of that two miles and seven furlongs, gives the impression that today will be on the short side and he could easily be outpaced.
Portway Flyer won very convincingly at Kempton on Saturday and is turned out quickly again under a seven pound penalty. That was in a higher grade than today and he won with something in hand so as long as he doesn't feel any ill effects from running only a few days ago, he has a definite chance of being involved in this. Ian Williams has his stable in terrific form and I am not sure the seven pound rise is going to be enough to stop him going in again now he has returned to form. He was rated as high as 133 over hurdles and if he runs anywhere near that form it will be good enough.
England v Afghanistan
After England's brilliant record run chase against South Africa, they need to continue their winning ways today to ensure they stay in the competition. The are a very short price to win this but I think the Afghans will put up a decent fight as they have some quality players. Their spinners could cause England a few problems and because of this Joe Root will be a key player and I expect him to have a good go at being top scorer for England again so will be backing accordingly.
Haydock 15:30 - Portway Flyer - 1 point @ 4/1 (Edit - now a non runner)
Joe Root top batsman - 1 point @ 9/2 (Paddy Power)