Haydock preview: Welsh Shadow to put rivals in the shade
David Metcalf | November 20, 2015
Welsh Shadow shaped with tons of promise when runner-up last time out and looks a worthy favourite to go one better and land the spoils in the 2m novices’ hurdle on today’s card at Haydock (13.55).
The Dan Skelton trained gelding created a huge impression when making a winning debut in a Wetherby bumper back in March, storming clear to score by six lengths after travelling strongly throughout.
It was a performance which marked Welsh Shadow out as a very exciting prospect who needed keeping firmly onside, and that view was confirmed when the five-year-old finished a cracking second of 11 to Yanworth on hurdles debut at Exeter earlier in the month.
Welsh can cast Shadow over rivals
Although no match for the easy winner, Welsh Shadow stuck to the task well without being unduly punsihed to go down by 1 1/4 lengths.
Yanworth is a very highly regarded sort who has come out an won since, and the third home Barney Dwan bolted up at Market Rasen earlier in the week in the manner of an above average type.
It gives the form a rock solid look, and Welsh Shadow is sure to come on a bundle for the experience.
The son of Robin Des Champs also hails from a yard on good form at present and, with Harry Skelton in the saddle, Welsh Shadow can take this en route to much better things.
Island to climb to new Heights
In the 2m 6f handicap hurdle that opens proceedings (12.50), Island Heights looks to have plenty in his favour to make it 2-2 this season.
The Lucinda Russell trained gelding opened his account over hurdles at the fourth time of asking when easily beating Sam Lord by 24 lengths on bottomless ground at Ayr, and went on to win and be placed on several occasions over fences last season.
Island Heights then had his attentions switched back to hurdles on his seasonal reappearance at Ayr, and only had to be driven out to beat Always Tipsy by a length on good-to-soft ground off a mark of 120.
Although now 5lb higher in the weights, Island Heights scored with more in hand than the winning margin suggests and the rise is offset by the claim of jockey Grant Cockburn.
Island Heights also looks the type who should have more to offer, and his proven form in testing conditions is a massive plus.
12.50: Island Heights (NB)
13.20: Doctor Phoenix
13.55: Welsh Shadow (NAP)
14.30: Minella Rocco
15.05: Wade Harper
15.40: Renaissance Red
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