SUE SMITH hopes Fill The Power can live up to his name and hit the bullseye in today’s Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase at Haydock.
Named by her husband Harvey in honour of the darts legend Phil Taylor, the High Eldwick trainer believes there are plenty of factors in favour of her runner.
Fill The Power runs in the colours of the Leeds-based McGoldrick Partnership, set up by Richard Longley following his phenomenal success with the now-retired Mister McGoldrick, and heads to Merseyside on the back of a creditable second-place finish at Carlisle last time out.
“He’s in good form and deserves to win a race like this,” said Smith, who believes jockey Dougie Costello’s positive style of riding will be beneficial to the eight-year-old’s chances. “He’s been in good form. Ground, trip and everything should be A-okay for him. He’s on a good weight as well. The ground is going to be plenty soft enough and he likes a stiff old track. I don’t think they will be going a million miles an hour. Everything just needs to come right on the day.”
The one to beat could be Firebird Flyer – his trainer Evan Williams, based in Wales, has opted to head to Haydock rather than the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow next weekend.
As for Smith’s remaining runners, she hopes a drop back in trip to two miles will suit Emral Silk in tomorrow’s opener.
Despite the heavy ground and burden of top weight, Smith hopes stable stalwart Stagecoach Pearl can replicate the fast and fluent jumping which saw him return to winning ways at Wetherby under teenage conditional rider Callum Bewley.
“Young Callum rides him again and hopefully we will get the best of the ground,” said the trainer.
Bewley also rides Red Danaher in the finale while Smith hopes James Reveley will strike up a good rapport with Grate Fella in the novice chase.
As for Christmas, Smith is set to be represented by Vintage Star in the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day. However, last year’s winner Cloudy Too misses the race – he has been on the sick list – but should return to action in the new year.