The Grey Monk is noted at Haydock

 

The Grey Monk can set himself up for a good season by winning the £40,000-added Edward Hanmer Memorial Chase at Haydock today. Nicky Richards' chaser has heaps of ability but fortune has not really favoured him since he progressed out of the novice ranks.

Last season he only saw a racecourse three times due to niggling problems but hit the target over today's course and distance, beating Rough Quest six lengths in the Tommy Whittle Chase.

He finished third in the Martell Cup at Aintree and then easily won a Grade Two race at Cheltenham, beating Pimberley Place 10 lengths.

The Grey Monk goes well fresh, likes Haydock and loves to dominate in small fields. The presence of three other high-class chasers - last year's winner Suny Bay, See More Business and Escartefigue - plus the indefatigable Strath Royal makes this a tricky contest but it is not too late for The Grey Monk to make Gold Cup class.

On what looks a tricky day for punters, Valedictory is interesting in the Hindley Green Handicap Hurdle. This is another open affair but Valedictory was very impressive on his Carlisle reappearance when easily beating Fair And Fancy. Best bet of the day, however, is Tony's Mist in the Bridstow Selling Handicap Hurdle at Hereford. He has finished second on his last four starts - the most recent two outside of selling company.

At Taunton last week he found Vicar's Vase just three-quarters of a length too good.

Brexent, who caught the eye when staying on into fourth on his debut at Warwick a fortnight ago, should finish a lot closer in the Marden Juvenile Novices' Hurdle.