View from connections: Betfred TV Old Borough Cup at Haydock Park.
Last Updated: 05/09/14 3:32pm
Epsom Hill is a leading contender at Haydock
View from connections ahead of Saturday's Betfred TV Old Borough Cup at Haydock Park.
Fledgling trainer Charlie Fellowes looks to step into the spotlight at Haydock this weekend as fast-improving youngster Epsom Hill lines up as a major contender for the Betfred TV Old Borough Cup.
Having learnt his trade working for the likes of James Fanshawe, Nicky Henderson and leading Australian handler Lee Freedman, 28-year-old Fellowes became one of the youngest trainers in the country when taking out his licence in January.
The season has yielded seven winners so far, with Epsom Hill striking twice in August as he followed up an emphatic 10-length triumph at Thirsk with a similarly impressive performance at Newbury three weeks ago.
With a string of 28 horses, Fellowes is rightly delighted with the start he has made and is confident Epsom Hill is ready to make his presence felt in Saturday's prestigious £60,000 contest if he gets his conditions.
"It's great to have a horse like him who is second favourite for a big race like this and he has improved beyond all recognition this year," said the Newmarket-based trainer.
"I'm happy to admit I am surprised with what he's achieved this season. He's a good looking horse, but he doesn't show me a huge amount at home.
"I'd rather he was that way than showing me a lot at home and nothing on the racecourse and there is no getting away from the fact he has been incredibly impressive on his last two starts.
"He has certainly benefited from being ridden more prominently and his last run at Newbury was basically a piece of work. He didn't come off the bridle.
"I'm delighted to have Paul Mulrennan back on board him this weekend, he has bottom weight and he's in great form.
"My one concern is the ground. I've been pretty clear that I will not risk him on ground that I deem to be unsuitable. He has his whole career ahead of him and if there is even a mention of good to firm he won't be running, I'm afraid.
"If the ground is good or easier then he'll take his chance and I'll be going there pretty excited about his chances."
The Luca Cumani-trained Havana Cooler heads the market and arguably deserves to get his nose in front following some fine efforts in defeat.
The four-year-old was third in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot on his seasonal return, was not beaten far into sixth in the Old Newton Cup at this track and was only just touched off by Van Percy at Glorious Goodwood.
Cumani is pleased with his charge heading into his latest assignment, but admits his wide draw in stall 16 has tempered his enthusiasm.
"He's in good form, but he's got a terrible draw," said the trainer. "I'm hoping they don't get any rain."
Course winner Glenard is a major contender having opened his account for the year in a valuable handicap at York's Ebor meeting a couple of weeks ago.
Trainer Charlie Hills said: "Hopefully he goes there with a good chance.
"He came out of York really well. We actually mentioned the Mallard Stakes at Doncaster after that, but we stuck him in this race and it looks a good spot for him, so we decided to come here instead.
"I think a mile and six (furlongs) is probably his ideal trip and good ground would be fine for him."
Alan Swinbank saddles two runners, with the in-form Aramist joined by stable companion Lady Kashaan.
"I hope they'll both run well. They are both in very good order," said Swinbank.
"You can't knock Aramist's form this year. He's won three times already and I'm very happy with him. Lady Kashaan has dropped a few pounds in the handicap, so hopefully she has a bit of a chance as well.
"If the ground is on the quick side that would suit Aramist, but if they get a bit of rain and it goes soft, Lady Kashaan will probably be the better of the two."