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Havana Cooler and Hughes can lift the Old Borough Cup

The progressive Havana Cooler can defy top-weight to land the valuable Old Borough Cup at Haydock today (3.15).

The colt had an upwardly mobile profile last season, beating the talented Pether’s Moon by 3/4 of a length at Newmarket before finishing third behind that rival at Goodwod over 1m 4f.

Havana Cooler then ran a stormer to finish a 1 1/2 length third of 11 to Dark Crusader over 1m 6f in the Melrose at York, having every chance until being unable to find any extra inside the last.

The son of Hurricane was then off the track for 301 days before reappearing in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot and running a blinder to finish third of 18 to the ultra-progressive Arab Spring.

Havana Cooler was slowly into stride but stayed on strongly from well off the pace to be beaten 3 1/4 lengths.

The four-year-old did best of those that came from behind, and it was a terrific performance given his time off the track.

Havana Cooler was then far from disgraced at this venue in the valuable Old Newton Cup over 1m 4f when beaten 2 1/4 lengths into fifth behind De Rigeur, before running a cracker last time out when beaten just a neck by Van Percy in a 14-runner contest over today’s trip of 1m 6f.

The winner has gone on to finish runner-up in the Ebor at York to give the form a rock solid look, and that makes a further 3lb rise in the weights for Havana Cooler look more than fair.

Another plus is that Havana Cooller now gets the services of champion jockey Richard Hughes in the saddle for the first time, and his quiet and patient riding style looks sure to suit.

After just eight runs Havana Cooler also remains relatively unexposed and open to further improvement, and everything suggests he is the one they all have to beat despite having to shoulder 9st 10lb and give weight away all-round.