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HAYDOCK Park's Flat season gets under way this afternoon and familiar faces could be in the winner's enclosure from the off. Liverpool-based owner Dr Marwan Koukash has had lots of success at his two local tracks of Haydock and Chester in recent years and the Richard Fahey-trained Gabrial's Kaka can give him more in the Haydock Park Handicap (3.25pm).

The four-year-old has started the season in good form and following a decent sixth in the William Hill Lincoln at Doncaster, he was an excellent winner of the 23-runner Spring Cup at Newbury last time.

He broke clear down the centre and came home a length and a half clear.

He showed all the hallmarks of a horse on the up and although this is another competitive contest with 16 runners, Gabrial's Kaka can continue his progress and land back-to-back successes. The chief danger looks to be the similarly in-form Fahey stable-mate Brae Hill, under Warrington's two-time champion jockey Paul Hanagan.

On a competitive card to open Haydock's Flat season, Yorkshire-based trainer Fahey could also be on the mark with Kyllachy Star in the 80s Music Night Here 21st June Handicap (1.50pm).

The eight-year-old has been busy on the all-weather, but judged on a good second back on Turf at Pontefract last time he could be up to landing a first win on grass in almost three years. Fahey's Sir Reginald has a chance in the PS25 Free Bet at Handicap (2.20pm) - one of the legs in the totescoop6 which could be worth more than PS4million to a single winner. But preference is for David Dennis' course and distance winner Set The Trend. He has won twice and been second in four starts at Haydock. He won a conditions event at the Merseyside track last season and after a pleasing return to the track at Kempton last time, Set The Trend should be spot on for this afternoon.

Another horse of interest on Haydock's eight-race card are James Fanshawe's Emulating in the finale, the Bet On Your Mobile at Handicap (5.10pm).

Sire De Grugy is the star attraction as the curtain is brought down on the jumps campaign at Sandown.

The Gary Moore-trained Queen Mother Champion Chaser looks a rock solid favourite in his bid to land back-to-back successes in the bet365 Celebration Chase (3.15pm).

The eight-year-old's speed over his fences makes him ideal for Sandown's galloping track and there doesn't look anything to fear from the opposition.

At the prices he is not a real betting proposition, but the big race for punters is the bet365 Gold Cup (3.50pm). And Crabbie's Grand National-winning trainer Dr Richard Newland may be able to land another big staying handicap with Ardkilly Witness. The eight-year-old won at Market Rasen 24 hours after Newland's biggest day at Aintree. Both horse and trainer are in good form and the step up to 3m5f should suit.

Ardkilly Witness is progressing and has been aimed at today's last-day showpiece.

Newland said: "We've had this race in mind for a while and his preparation has gone pretty smoothly. We're very happy with the horse, he seems in good form and we're looking forward to running him.

"They've had a bit of rain and anything that takes the sting out of the ground is good news.

"We've always thought going this distance would suit him, but you never really know until you try."

Others who could go close in the Gold Cup are Paul Nicholls' Bury Parade and last year's runner-up Same Difference, from the Nigel Twiston-Davies' stable, while at a bigger price Bally Legend may be worth an each-way bet.


ON A RUN: Gabrial's Kaka (centre) and Jamie Spencer winning at Newbury
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 26, 2014
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