Turf Talk: Rivals could be blown away by Havana Rocket at Wolverhampton

Trainer Andrew Balding. PIC: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Trainer Andrew Balding. PIC: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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Havana Rocket can give weight and a beating to his rivals in the Ladbrokes Handicap at Wolverhampton.

Andrew Balding’s colt hinted at ability on each of his three juvenile starts, improving from his Sandown debut to finish fourth and third in successive novice events at Ffos Las. Havana Rocket was given a wind operation during the off-season, and it appears to have had the desired effect judged on his successful return at Newcastle in January.

He was odds-on to open his account that day, but it was still hard not to be impressed by the way he went about his business from the front – and the subsequent successes of runner-up Solar Park give the form a very solid look.

Balding’s charge enters the handicap arena off a mark of 83, and that looks perfectly workable for a horse open to plenty of improvement.

Tour De Paris gets the nod in the opening Betway Live Casino Handicap.

The four-year-old was sent to Alan King to go jumping – but with his first three starts over hurdles a little underwhelming, he has since been switched back to the level.

Tour De Paris opened his account over this course and distance last month and was only narrowly denied by Singing The Blues – a horse who was completing a hat-trick – on his return to Dunstall Park less than a fortnight ago.

Having been raised just 1lb to a mark of 64, he looks sure to go well once more.

Not The Chablis appeals as one of the better bets on the card at Hexham, where he goes in the Visit Our New Static Caravan Site Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

The Nick Alexander-trained five-year-old tries handicaps for the first time, having last been seen finishing third in a novice event at Kelso at the beginning of the month.

He might have had the misfortune to bump into a couple there – not least the winner Oleg, who was making his debut for Paul Nicholls – and he should strip fitter, because it was his first run off a mini-break.

Graystown appears to be getting his act together over fences and can be followed in the Static Caravan Pitches Available Now Handicap Chase.

He remains on a mark a good deal lower than his hurdles rating, and a drop him trip saw him score at the fourth attempt over the larger obstacles last time out.

Station Master should go well in the S & A Produce Novices’ Chase at Hereford.

Kim Bailey’s charge had put in good efforts at Uttoxeter and in particular Cheltenham towards the end of last year, but did not enjoy himself at Doncaster in December after an early mistake and was pulled up.

He returned at Huntingdon earlier this month when he recorded a confidence-boosting success.


HEREFORD: 2.00 Bazarov, 2.30 Tiffin Top, 3.00 Station Master, 3.30 Bennys Girl, 4.00 Tikk Tock Boom, 4.30 New Quay.

HEXHAM: 2.10 Ard Chros, 2.40 Not The Chablis (treble), 3.10 Graystown, 3.40 Glinger Flame, 4.10 Arizona Bound, 4.40 Djebel Rome.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.00 Tour De Paris (next best), 5.30 Miracle Works, 6.00 Iconic Girl, 6.30 Dark Miracle, 7.00 HAVANA ROCKET (NAP), 7.30 Jackstar.