In-form sprinter Ice Age is among 105 confirmations for the £90,000 32Red Gold Cup (3.15pm) at Haydock Park on TENsational Finale Real Ale Day, Saturday, September 30.
The valuable six-furlong handicap is a replacement race for the Ayr Gold Cup, following Ayr's abandonment due to waterlogging on September 23.
Ice Age (Eve Johnson Houghton, 8st 13lb) was one of the market leaders for the Ayr Gold Cup on the back of a third straight success in a lucrative six-furlong handicap at the Curragh on September 10.
Prior to that, the four-year-old had captured a pair of handicaps over the same distance at Windsor, including the valuable Windsor Sprint Series Finale on August 21.
Ice Age is a 12/1 with chance with sponsor 32Red.
Oxfordshire-based trainer Eve Johnson Houghton, who has her horses in excellent form, said today: "Ice Age is in great form and the plan is to run at Haydock Park on Saturday.
"I don't think the extra week will make a difference either way. He got halfway up to Ayr before turning around and had about six hours in the horsebox, but seems quite happy after that.
"He has improved all year and winning three big handicaps in a row would be a great achievement. He is a big horse and I would say it has just taken time to fill his frame. I think he has a very good chance on Saturday.
"He obviously goes well on soft ground, but he has never raced on heavy ground. He should be OK but you never know until you try."
Aeolus (Ed Walker, 9st 3lb, 12/1 with 32Red) and Shanghai Glory (Charlie Hills, 9st 3lb) were second and fifth respectively in the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood in early August. Shanghai Glory, the 8/1 with favourite with 32Red, has since gone down narrowly when third in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon on August 19.
Donjuan Triumphant (Andrew Balding, 9st 9lb, 12/1) and Johnny Barnes (John Gosden, 9st 6lb, 12/1) both have five pound penalties. Donjuan Triumphant secured his first victory for almost two years when landing a conditions race at Haydock Park on September 7, while Johnny Barnes was a comfortable winner of a seven-furlong handicap at Goodwood on August 26.
Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey has 11 horses going forward including joint top-weight Toscanini (9st 10lb, 14/1), runner-up in the G3 City Of York Stakes on his latest start, and last year's Ayr Gold Cup runner-up Growl (9st 9lb, 14/1).
Lightly-raced four-year-old Projection (Roger Charlton, 9st 5lb, 16/1) is another with good handicap form, having finished third in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, while Kickboxer (9st, 16/1)has not raced since making a successful debut for trainer Mick Appleby in a five-furlong handicap at Thirsk in May.
Other interesting contenders include the other joint top-weight Son Of Rest (Fozzy Stock IRE, 9st 10lb, 16/1), who was third behind Caravaggio in the G2 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on September 10, and last year's Stewards' Cup runner-up Orion's Bow (Tim Easterby, 9st 3lb, 16/1).
A maximum field of 17 can line up in the 32Red Gold Cup. Full prices from 32Red can be found via https://www.32red.com/sport#home/racing/event/1004243093
The going at Haydock is currently Soft, Heavy in Places.
Kirkland Tellwright, North West Head of Racing for Jockey Club Racecourses and Clerk of the Course at Haydock Park, said: "We had three millimetres of rain on Monday and are set for a dry day today (Tuesday).
"Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be wet, with up to 20 millimetres due to fall by the end of Friday, and the reality is that we will be somewhere around the same going when we race on Saturday. The best case would be soft, but it is more likely to be soft, heavy in places.
"We are pleased to have played a part in seeing to it that these good horses are given the opportunity to run and grateful to BHA, the Levy Board and 32Red for the essential roles that each have played in getting this to happen."
Haydock Park's eight-race card on TENsational Finale Real Ale Day starts at 1.35pm and ends at 5.35pm, with six of the contests sponsored by 32Red. The racing is followed by a DJ set of pop classics by resident DJ Jeff Wall.
There is also racing at Haydock Park on Friday, September 29, with the seven-race programme commencing at 2.10pm.