Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 14:16 16/01/2015
Providing tomorrow's meeting at Haydock passes it's precautionary 8.00am inspection in the morning we get the chance to see StanJames.com Champion Hurdle second favourite The New One in action at 2.05 but with the seven-year-old sure to go off at prohibitive odds it is the Peter Marsh Chase at 3.15 which makes much more appeal as a betting medium.
13 Horses are set to go to post for the wide-open 3m 1f contest which is certain to prove a severe stamina test on the heavy ground, conditions which should suit the Alistair Whillans-trained Samstown who represents good each-way value at the 16-1 available with William Hill.
The eight-year-old had been progressing nicely over fences before disappointing at Cheltenham on his most recent start last month but the Kingsala gelding may have been unsuited by conditions that day and is better judged on his other four runs in 2014 which resulted in two victories and two narrow defeats.
Failing by just a neck to hold Flying Award in the Somerset National at Wincanton 12 month's ago, a race run over three mile three and a half furlongs on heavy ground, proving that a stern test of stamina to be right up Samstown's street a fact which was confirmed when the horse ran out a nineteen length winner at Ayr on his final start last season.
Tomorrow's jockey Brian Harding took over from Ewan Whillans for the first time when Samstown made his seasonal reappearance at Kelso in November when, despite looking in need of the race, the combination outstayed 2-1 favourite The Last Samuri for a hard-faught victory, form which has since received a significant boost with the unplaced pair of Neptune Equester and Scotswell both going on to land decent staying handicaps recently.
Top weight Hey Big Spender faces a tough task off 11st 10lb and bigger dangers are likely to come from the foot of the handicap in the shape of Vintage Star, Benbens and Toby Lerone but Samstown will be staying on when most of these have had enough and is taken to land the £50k contest at decent odds.