’s Charlie McCann with Friday’s preview’s Charlie McCann with Friday’s preview

The ground looks sure to be testing at Haydock by the time they go to post on Saturday and I can’t help but think that C&D winner That Is The Spirit could be overpriced at 20/1 for the John Of Gaunt Stakes given his love of soft ground.

I make no apology for beginning today’s preview at Stratford where they stage the 59th running of the Horse & Hound Cup. Paul Nicholls saddles the likely favourite Wonderful Charm who finished runner up to stablemate Pacha Du Polder in the Cheltenham Foxhunter before disappointing in the Grand National.

This is more his grade and he must go close, but preference is for the Irish raider Balnaslow (7.50) although his stamina for this near 3m 4f trip has to be taken on trust. The selection won the Punchestown Foxhunter on his last start and was, arguably, unlucky not to have won at Aintree previously. Yes, the selection has a bit to find with the Nicholls-trained favourite on Cheltenham running but the hope is that today’s flat sharp track will suit – regular pilot Derek O’Connor takes the ride.

In the Champion Novices’ race, Broken Eagle will have his supporters but he is not guaranteed to appreciate this 3m 4f test on softish ground and an each way chance is taken on Supreme Danehill (6.40) who has won over 4miles on soft ground and looks sure to handle conditions better than most.

At Goodwood this evening Parliamentarian (7.40) will be an appropriate winner and the selection is taken to improve on a promising reappearance when he finished a close third over 2m on firm ground at Haydock last month. The selection ran well on soft ground on debut and this lightly-raced sort can go on to better things this term.

There is a valuable 10f fillies’ handicap and Mittens would have got the vote on good or fast ground, but with the ground likely to be on the soft side of good I think White Chocolate (8.15) can win her third race from four starts for David Simcock.

The selection has only been raised 2lbs for what was a comfortable success at Salisbury on rain-softened ground last month, and the third and fourth horses home on that occasion have franked the form.

The listed Achilles Stakes is the Haydock feature this evening and the Paul Midgeley pair Final Venture and Monsieur Joe must go close but I am going to take a chance on the three-year-old Kyllang Rock (7.25) who is progressing nicely and put up a career best performance when second at Yok in a similar contest last month. His ability to handle soft ground would have to be taken on trust but he goes well with plenty of cut in the ground and he can cause a bit of a shock against his elders.

Tom Dascombe saddles two in the 7f handicap including the filly La Celebs Ville (8.00) who has a good record at tonight’s track and enjoys soft ground. The filly is only 3lbs higher than when scoring over a mile here on her last start back in April and she looks open to further improvement.

Golden Glimmer (8.35) makes a belated seasonal debut in the fillies’ handicap for Dascombe and she can make a winning reappearance. The four-year-old has yet to run on soft ground but her brothers Birdman and Predominance went well with plenty of cut and I feel there is more to come from the locally-trained runner.

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