Temple Stakes Tips: Crusader the value play at Haydock

Some classy sprinters line up in the 2022 Temple Stakes at Haydock
Some classy sprinters line up in the 2022 Temple Stakes at Haydock

Tim Easterby's Winter Power was one of the star sprinters last season, with his victory in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York being a career highlight, and he will make his hotly-anticipated return to the track on Saturday in the Group 2 Temple Stakes, which is the feature race at Haydock Park at 15:45...

Dominant at York last season, Winter Power won a brace of Listed contests before going on to claim the Nunthorpe win, and if he can repeat that effort away from the Knavesmire then it's hard to not see the 6/4 favourite prevailing here. However, Easterby's four-year-old failed to emulate that Nunthorpe success as he was well beaten in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, while he ended the campaign finishing eighth in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp.

The Easterby team will no doubt be using this event as a springboard to the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in a few weeks, so he may not be fully tuned up for this assignment, but the Bungle Inthejungle is the class act of the event and it's hard to not see him making the frame, but can you ooze confidence at such short odds.

Ed Walker's Came From the Dark ended last season with a victory in the Group 3 Coral Charge at Sandown Park, but the six-year-old wasn't seen after that success, and he was a disappointing 10th of 12 on his comeback run in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in late April. The 11/2 shot is sure to improve for that outing, but this is arguably his toughest test to date and he may find it hard to live with a horse like Winter Power.

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Derby Odds

Henry Candy's Twilight Calls and the Stuart Williams-trained Existent did battle as well in the aforementioned Palace House at Newmarket, and it was the latter that fared better by finishing a fine second to Khaadem. Twilight Calls was just over a length behind back in fifth spot, so he doesn't have much to find on form, and the son of Twilight Son can duly turn that form around, as he had shown prior to that event his class when winning a Newmarket handicap with aplomb. The pair could still struggle to get their noses in front in an intriguing renewal awash with classy sprinters.

A Listed winner at the end of last season, Andrew Balding's King's Lynn failed to kick off his campaign with a win at Chester, and he will need to improve on that effort to feature in a race that can see the 12/1 chance Last Crusader run a huge race at decent odds. Karl Burke's string have been in tremendous form of late and the three-year-old will be in receipt of significant weight from older rivals here, and he was last seen bounding to a Listed victory at York last week. Stepping up in grade for this event, LAST CRUSADER will need to improve on that effort in what is a tougher race, but it's often wise to stick with those sprinters in form, and with Burke's stable in great form at the moment then Last Crusader has to be the each-way play in the race.

Sent off 12/1 for this event 12 months ago, Ainsdale ran a huge race to finish second in the 2021 Temple Stakes, and he will be back for another crack in 2022, but has struggled to kick on since that effort and looks to face a huge task to emulate last year's display.

Of the others, Moss Gill and White Lavender have some decent form when at their best, with the latter winning a Listed event at Bath last time out, and he will add depth to Burke's charge, but it's his Last Crusader that is the selection for what should be an action-packed feature at Haydock this weekend.

Temple Stakes
Last Crusader silk

Last Crusader

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