Haydock preview: Cornborough weighted to go well

Cornborough posted a solid effort when runner-up last time out and looks decent value to go one better and land the spoils in the 1m handicap on today’s card at Haydock (15.35).

The Mark Walford trained gelding is lightly-raced for a four-year-old having had just nine starts, winning once and finishing in the frame on three occasions.

After scoring on debut at Redcar on good-to-soft ground, Cornborough went on to finish a cracking staying on third in an apprentice handicap at Doncaster last October on soft ground off a mark of 74.

The son of Sir Percy is now able to race off 70, and comes into the contest on the back of two really solid efforts.

In the last of those over 1m at Ripon 16 days ago, Cornborough travelled strongly for much of the contest before keeping on well to be beaten just 1/2 length by Cooper.

It was an effort which suggested his time was near, and connections are now fitting Cornborough with the cheekpieces for the first time.

If the new headgear has the desired effect he looks weighted to take all the beating on ground which holds no fears.

In the 7f conditions contest (16.05), Richard Pankhurst is a red-hot favourite to make a winning return to action.

The John Gosden trained colt looked a smart prospect when bolting up in the Chesham at Royal Ascot on just his second start last season and remains open to any amount of progress.

However, the son of Raven’s Pass has been on the sidelines for 439 days and I think that he is plenty short enough to win this at the first time of asking after such a lengthy absence on ground which is likely to be softer than ideal.

For that reason I am keen to oppose, and Dark Emerald looks a bit of value to cause an upset.

The Brendan Powell trained gelding enjoyed a terrific time in Dubai over the winter, and returned to something like that form when runner-up to Kodi Bear in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury last month.

That is strong form in the context of this contest, and Dark Emerald is a really tough sort who will not be found wanting through lack of fitness and looks sure to give it his best shot.

14.00: Star Storm
14.30: Easy Code 20
15.00: Dal Harraild
15.35: Cornborough (NAP)
16.05: Dark Emerald (NB)
16.40: Buonarroti
17.10: Deep Resolve