AFTER a spell of lovely sunshine, the rain is set to return this evening which could have a big impact on tomorrow’s Group Three Hackwood Stakes (3.00pm) at Newbury.
The amount set to fall on the Berkshire course varies according to which forecast you look at, but the likelihood is the ground will ride a hell of a lot easier than the current description of good to firm.
Any rain that does arrive won’t inconvenience favourite THE TIN MAN, who has three career Group One victories to his name on ground varying from good to firm right the way through to last season’s Haydock Sprint Cup victory on heavy going.
His seasonal reappearance, a two length third to Dream Of Dreams at Windsor, had looked a little bit below par at the time, but that one’s gallant effort at Royal Ascot puts the performance in a better light.
The Tin Man could only finish sixth in that Diamond Jubilee Stakes, but he was beaten less than five lengths and this represents a significant drop in grade.
He won this very contest pretty easily back in 2016, so as long as the years haven’t caught up with him, he looks sure to be bang there again at 9/4 with Coral.
Another one sure to be involved is the three-year-old, KHAADEM, who can also be forgiven a slightly below par effort at Royal Ascot last time.
This son of Dark Angel was quietly fancied to run well in the Group One Commonwealth Cup but ended up 10 lengths behind Advertise in seventh.
He was switched to challenge away from the action on the stands’ side and just didn’t fire for whatever reason.
Previously, he travelled really well throughout his reappearance run over course and distance back in May and held off the strong challenge of Oxted.
That form looks even better now when you consider the pair had Jersey Stakes winner Space Traveller a couple of lengths away back in third.
He proved he can handle some juice in the ground when winning on good to soft at Doncaster on his final start as a juvenile, so any rain shouldn’t inconvenience him either.
The Charlie Hills team have hit a bit of a purple patch in recent weeks so there are reasons to expect this talented colt to bounce back to form at around 5/1.
Looking at the others, and if serious rain falls, Snazzy Jazzy and Donjuan Triumphant come right into the equation.
The former won the Ayr Silver Cup on heavy ground last season and followed up again in a French Group Three two starts later.
Seven furlongs at Haydock may have stretched him on his reappearance and he returned to winning ways when dead-heating with Archer’s Dream in the Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury last month.
As for Donjuan Triumphant, he would need the heavens to well and truly open as he seems most effective on ground described as soft at best.
Instead, I’m going to take a chance with my third and final dart at the board in the shape of German raider WALDPFAD.
It’s hard to weigh up the five-year-old’s level of form compared to that of his English rivals, but he looks a contender given both of his runs in his homeland this season.
He was just touched off on his seasonal reappearance in a Group Three at Dresden, before winning the Holstein Cup at Hamburg on his most recent outing.
That was his first run over six furlongs and given he was a comfortable winner that day, it looks to be the trip he’s been crying out for.
His trainer Dominik Moser wouldn’t be bringing him over unless he thought he had a chance, while Andrea Atzeni is an eye-catching jockey booking.
If his German form stands up tomorrow, the 16/1 available could be a big price.
BILL ESDAILE’S HACKWOOD STAKES 1-2-3
1 THE TIN MAN