Haydock preview: Upswing looks the real McCoy (14:35)
Upswing signalled a return to form when finishing runner-up on his last outing, and can go one better to land the 2m 4f handicap hurdle at Hyadock today (14:35) now fitted with a visor for the first time.
This Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding had a progressive profile over hurdles last season, winning two handicaps at Carlisle over 2m 1f in cosy fashion before going on to land a competitive class 2 contest at Newbury over 3m 1f off a mark of 128.
The seven-year-old looked the type who had more to offer and would have no problem winning more races, but failed to shine in his first three runs this season – twice over hurdles and once over fences.
However, that was at a time when the stable was not firing and there’s much more to like about Upswing’s latest run when second to Gold Futures at Carlisle.
The son of Beneficial travelled strongly throughout, and looked all over the winner after coming off the pace to lead at the last until getting collared close home and beaten 2 lengths.
Upswing now meets the winner on 2lb better terms, and that may well be enough turn around the placings, if the fitting of the headgear has the desired effect.
To me, he has been crying out for it as he only does enough and tends to idle when hitting the front so, with AP McCoy in the saddle, Upswing looks capable of defying a career high mark of 133 to get back on the winning trail.
There are plenty of dangers in wide open contest, and the biggest may well prove to be Hindon Road.
The Alan King trained gelding won his bumper at Towcester back in 2011 and went on to run some solid races over hurdles in 2012.
He finished placed three times behind useful types in It’s A Gimme, Captain Sunshine and Opening Batsmen before opening his account over the obstacles at Fontwell by 1 1/2 lengths.
The eight-year-old has since endured two lenghty spells on the sidelines and had just five runs, but shaped as if his time was near last time out when a solid second to Rally over 3m 1f at Newbury.
Hindon Road was still on the bridle when making a mistake two out which put paid to his chances, and the drop back in trip this afternoon looks sure to suit.