Gabrial’s Star will have Koukash beaming in Old Borough Cup

For all the trouble that Dr Marwan Koukash is having with his Salford City Reds, GABRIAL’S STAR might be able to put a smile on his face in the Old Borough Cup (2.35pm) at Haydock tomorrow.

After a cracking, and slightly unlucky, run in the Betway Chester Cup in May, he failed to worry the judge in his next three starts.

But, after bouncing back to form to finish second in the Listed Chester Stakes a fortnight ago, he looks a good bet at 10/1 with Betway.

The six-year-old’s handler Richard Fahey is enjoying his most valuable season to date with his older horses, and it would be no surprise to see him claim another big weekend handicap.

Mark Johnston is another trainer to follow in this type of race and his Notarised looks set to play a big part. He was a pillar-to-post winner of the Old Newton Cup at the track in July and, despite being well beaten in two starts since, he must be respected.

If Battersea wins this I’ll kick myself. However, given that his two poor performances this season have been blamed on the soft ground, he looks unlikely to get his ideal conditions tomorrow.

Hopefully we’re not chasing when we get to Haydock’s ‘lucky last’ tomorrow, but the best bet of the day looks to be in the finale at the Lancashire track.

I was disappointed to see Godolphin’s FUTURE EMPIRE scratched for the Old Borough Cup at the final declaration stage, as I’m sure he needs the step up to 1m6f to perform at his best.

However, Saeed bin Suroor has opted for the easier assignment over the same distance taking on his fellow three-year-olds.

Future Empire was a close third to Aloft in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in June and then ran a belter to be second to Mr Singh in the Group Three Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket.

He was disappointing at Musselburgh last time but, stepping up in trip with the first time visor, I think the best is yet to come.

▀ Pointers…
GABRIAL’S STAR e/w 2.35pm Haydock (tomorrow)
FUTURE EMPIRE 5.30pm Haydock (tomorrow)