February 19th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

Haydock in heavy ground has never been my idea of the place to find winners and I shall give it a miss on Saturday, though you could argue that David Pipe’s Broadway Buffalo has a very fair chance in the Betfred Grand National Trial. He will not mind the ground, has had a good rest and, most significantly, has the assistance of Katie Walsh, who has partnered him before. Presumably Pipe has asked her to ride again with a big staying chase in mind, though this has £75.000 added and is well worth winning in its own right.

Wincanton will be the place for me and I hope to see Paul Nicholls’ French import BLACK CORTON win the closing novices’ hurdle. The stable is swinging right back into form now and this horse can score on his British debut. His second to Bipolaire at Auteuil reads very well, with the winner having gone on to win twice more before finishing just behind the placed horses in a very valuable hurdle. This is smart form and there may well be something for Black Corton at Cheltenham or Aintree.

Nicholls runs Irving in the Kingwell Hurdle, where he faces only three rivals. I have never been a big fan of Irving, who is best in company just short of top class but should have benefited from a spell on the sidelines. He is penalised, however, and may not be able to concede PAIN AU CHOCOLAT 8lb. The latter ran away with a modest event at Newcastle and represents Dan Skelton, who won this last year with Blue Heron. There may be some value via a reversed forecast with the much-improved Rayvin Black, because it is hard to side with the fading Melodic Rendezvous, who has tried fences and is not the force of old.

It is hard to resist David Elsworth’s BURNING THREAD in the 2.35 at Haydock because when the boy claims he will be 12lb better with Taajub, who was a couple of lengths too good for him last time.