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Horse Racing: Progressive Ballroom Dancer can step lively; RP RATINGS.

Byline: Sam Walker

THE Zap Football Handicap (3.40) at Haydock hasn't attracted quite the same quality of runners as in recent years, but there are some nice profiles among the eight runners and a number of the big yards are represented.

The race has often been a stepping-stone for progressive types, and two of the last four winners have gone on to score in Class 2 company, while the 2005 winner, Stronghold, improved through the ranks to land a Group 3.

Ballroom Dancer looks the one to beat in this year's renewal, as she achieved a career-best Racing Post Rating of 88 last time out and looks the type to progress further. She had achieved a solid level of form in maiden company earlier in the year, finishing clear of the remainder when second to subsequent winner Mutanaseb at Kempton, before winning over 1m at Goodwood in June.

The form of that win has worked out well, with the second, fifth and ninth all successful since, and she was able to step up on that level when just failing to catch Oceana Gold off an official mark of 80 at Sandown last time out.

She gets in here off the same official mark and a repeat effort would give her a live chance.

Another well-bred sort who could be better than his current mark is Snaafy, who had two subsequent winners behind when landing a Newmarket maiden in April. He won nicely that day, picking up an RPR of 77, but he was unable to build on that in handicap company last time out, finishing eighth to Artimino off an official mark of 82. That race was more competitive than today's, but he will have to improve to score here.

Sunlight is another unexposed type and a return to her juvenile form would see her in the mix.

Today's bets

Ballroom Dancer

3.40 Haydock

Progressive profile

Last Sovereign

8.00 Bath

Nap

Five starts on the all-weather and only one on the turf, but his five-length win at Catterick in April rates as his best performance and he should be capable of another big run with the ground in his favour on his return to the grass. He has gone up 12lb since his last win, but he remains open to improvement on this surface.

Valamareha

7.35 Tipperary

Defy penalty

Unexposed type who gets away with just a 5lb penalty after trouncing her rivals by four and a half lengths at Galway on Friday. That win was worth an RPR of 82 and she holds obvious claims on that form as long as she handles this easier surface.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 9, 2007
Words:441
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