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Test

Ante-Post Value – The Silver Bowl

By James Boyle –

£70,000 is up for grabs in Saturday’s renewal of the ultra-competitive Silver Bowl (2:40 Haydock), a 1-mile handicap for the 3-year-old’s, and most of the top yards will be well represented.

How the hell we go about solving the race is a good question and I suppose that Zarwaan is the obvious starting point, given that he currently heads the market at a general price-tag of 6/1.

Although easily beaten into second place on his handicap debut at Newbury last time out, he was giving no less than 10lbs to Muwaary and that horse has since run an absolute screamer in the French Guineas, finishing two-lengths behind the winner in fourth place despite not settling well.

That is excellent form (the third, fifth and seventh have all won since) and the handicapper putting Zarwaan up by 3lbs is more than fair. My issue is whether he’ll truly see out the mile trip if the promised rain leaves the underfoot conditions on the testing side and it’s enough to put me off.

Bilimbi is the closest market rival to the above and represents William Haggas. Ryan Moore being booked to ride the gelding for the first time is eye-catching, of course, and there will be no qualms over staying the trip if it’s a true test, given that he’s by Duke Of Marmalade out of a Galileo mare.

 

Despite market weakness on his handicap debut/seasonal return at Musselburgh (ground worries; track not entirely his want either), he comfortably defeated the useful Extra Noble by over a couple of lengths and looked like a horse to keep on your side in the process. Getting onto a softer surface at a more conventional venue will be in his favour and off 7lbs higher, he looks sure to be on the premises. A best-priced 13/2 should disappear before the off (I expect him to be the clear fav) and I’ll give him the nod in a tough race to solve.

Of the others, What About Carlo is respected even though he’s up 9lbs for an impressive win at Sandown last month. Whether he has much in hand off 94, however, remains to be seen and similar comments apply to David Barron’s Red Stargazer now that he’s up to 96 (said to be the worst handicapped animal in the yard prior to winning over C&D a couple of weeks ago!). Born In Bombay is interesting for Andrew Balding if handling the ground but I’m going to stick with Bilimbi. There must be plenty more to come from Haggas’ charge…

 

Selection for the Betfred Silver Bowl (2:40 at Haydock; Saturday):

Bilimbi Silks Bilimbi – 13/2, available with Bet365; 6/1 generally.

 

– Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/Press Association Images


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