Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham is planning a two-pronged assault on Haydock's two valuable jump prizes this Saturday, May 6, with United and Ken's Dream aiming to score a notable double in the £27,500 betfredpoker.com Long Distance Handicap Hurdle and £75,000 Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle respectively.
A total of 35 horses have been entered in the betfredpoker.com Long Distance Handicap Hurdle (1.25pm), over two miles, seven and a half furlongs, with the Alan King-trained Mughas heading the weights on 11st 12lb, and United allotted 10st 10lb.
United gave Wadham the biggest win of her training career when landing the Grade One four-year-old hurdle at last year's Punchestown Festival, but has only raced three times so far this season following an injury, running fifth of nine in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr on April 22 on her last start.
Wadham said: "United will go for the staying race. Ideally I would have liked to step her up to two and a half miles, but we'll go for the two miles, seven and a half furlongs race - she is bred to stay the trip as there's plenty of stamina in her pedigree.
"I think on good ground she probably needs further than two miles but it's a bit of an experiment really. She actually stayed on quite well at Ayr last time - she made a mistake in the home straight but kept on well and was only beaten a head for fourth.
"She lost a bit of confidence with her jumping after going to France [pulled up over two and a half miles on heavy ground at Auteuil on April 2] and in the circumstances we were happy with her last run.
"It appears she has come out of the race really well and is in good form. She's a versatile sort and the track and ground should be fine."
The Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle (1.55pm), a Grade Three contest over two miles, is the richest race on a great mixed card, and has attracted 29 entries, with Blazing Bailey currently topping the weights on 11st 12lb.
Ken's Dream, allotted 10st in the handicap, has had three runs for Wadham over hurdles, after returning to action following an 18-month break, and comes into the race in winning form, having run away with a two-mile maiden hurdle at Plumpton by 18 lengths on April 17.
Wadham revealed: "Ken's Dream will run in the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle and is in great order at present. He's a fresh horse and will love the good ground.
"It will be his first time in a handicap so it will be interesting to see how he fares, but I think he's earned a tilt at the race and he gets in on a nice racing weight.
"The two-mile trip will be prefect for him and we're hoping he's going to run a big race. Leighton Aspell will ride both of mine and I think we go to Haydock with two decent each-way chances."
The Irish could mount a strong challenge for the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle, with County Kildare handler Jessica Harrington, who landed the contest in 2004 with Macs Joy, set to run Callow Lake. He could be joined by the Charlie Swan-trained Emmpat and Francis Flood's Pom Flyer.
The ground at Haydock is currently good on both the hurdle and Flat courses. The hurdle course has been watered, with the aim of maintaining good ground.
AUSTRALIANS TARGET ASCOT TAKEOVER
Global Sprint Challenge series leader, Takeover Target (Joe Janiak), is one of three Australian entries for the Golden Jubilee Stakes on Saturday 24th June. The winner of leg one of the 2006 series, the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February, is chasing the US$1,000,000 bonus on offer for winning a Group One challenge leg in three out of four participating countries.
Also chasing the bonus could be Glamour Puss (Danny O'Brien), and Falkirk, representing the Makybe Diva yard of Lee Freedman. All three are doubly engaged in the King's Stand Stakes.
Hong Kong is represented at the initial entry stage by the 2005 Global Sprint Challenge champion, Cape Of Good Hope (David Oughton), and the world's highest rated sprinter, Silent Witness (Tony Cruz).
Japan could be represented by Symboli Gran (Yoshihiro Hatakeyama), who was 2½ lengths sixth in the Group One Takamatsunomiya Kinen in March. There is a further Royal Ascot entry for Japan in the shape of Deep Impact (Yasuo Ikee) in the Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday 21st June.
A four length winner of the Group One Tenno Sho at the weekend, Deep Impact won the Japanese Triple Crown last year has been beaten just once in ten starts, when second to Heart's Cry in the Arima Kinen on Christmas Day. Since then, Heart's Cry, the Japan Cup runner-up, has gone on to land the Dubai Sheema Classic.
Dubai World Cup Day winners Electrocutionist (Saeed Bin Suroor) and David Junior (Brian Meehan) head the domestic entries for the Prince of Wales's Stakes, for which France have four entries, including Sunday's Prix Ganay winner Corre Caminos (M. Delzangles).
"Takeover Target, Glamour Puss and Falkirk represent top Group One sprinting form in Australia and the first two have already made shipping and stabling plans," said Nick Smith, Head of Public Relations at Ascot.
"Last year's Golden Jubilee Stakes winner Cape of Good Hope is confirmed on course and we'll follow up with connections of Silent Witness after he's run in the Champions Mile in Hong Kong this weekend.
"Symboli Gran was favourite for his reappearance run in March and ran satisfactorily, so connections are thinking about sending him over. We're talking to Mr Ikee about starting Deep Impact in the Prince of Wales's Stakes, where he would be stepping down six furlongs in trip after his win in the two mile Tenno Sho, but he really is remarkable as all trips seem to come alike. His main target, if he comes to the UK, will probably be the King George, where he looks likely to meet compatriot Heart's Cry, who is the only horse ever to have beaten him."
AT THE RACES RESPONSE TO PROPOSED INTRODUCTION OF 48 HOUR DECLARATIONS
At The Races, the UK and Ireland's most watched dedicated racing channel, welcomes last night's agreement in principle between the Racecourse Association ("RCA") and Racehorse Owners Association ("ROA") on the introduction of 48 hour declarations.
Following the announcement, Matthew Imi, Chief Executive, At The Races, commented: "We are very pleased that the RCA and ROA have agreed in principle to move forward with this proposal. The biggest winner will be our sport as the international marketplace has to be considered a real long term growth opportunity for British horseracing. The market has become very competitive so we need to maximise revenue opportunities to ensure that British horseracing does not get left behind by other international racing jurisdictions. We must have 48 hour declarations in our armoury if we are to achieve this.
Coupled with high quality, all year round product and the integrity that comes with British horseracing we now have all the key boxes ticked and are able to proceed with revenue generative initiatives in Australia and North America. As early as next Monday, we have a meeting in Sydney to finalise the terms of the agreement with Australia's Sky Channel."
GOODWOOD RACECOURSE COMMUNICATIONS INTERRUPTION
Due to an IT fault, direct telephone and computer links to Goodwood Racecourse have been temporarily interrupted. Normal service should be fully resumed tomorrow (Thursday, May 4).
Arrangements have been made this morning for telephone calls to the racecourse to be routed to Goodwood House from where racecourse staff are dealing with them.
The racecourse executive apologises for any inconvenience that has been caused to racegoers and visitors planning to attend this Saturday's (May 6) race meeting.