Haydock Park,Saturday 11th August 2018, Smarkets Rose Of Lancaster Stakes Day. 

Ladies Day at Haydock Park brought about the usual suspects like a Style Contest with a good array of prizes and a post racing DJ set by Vernon Kay who was taking a break from hosting the Formula E series on Channel 5 and the many very average ITV quiz shows which for some reason seem to get stopped quicker than a chaser in heavy ground for a fair and reasonable card that comes inbetween the gap that fills up the schedule between Glorious Goodwood and the York Ebor meeting. 

The afternoons feature race was a tight looking renewal of the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes with the seven runners rated from 101 to 109 it was the lowest rated who came out blooming at Haydock on Ladies Day as course specialist Teodoro pulverised the others with a dominant display of front running to land the 10f contest in brutal style to take the prize from Lancashire to Cheshire. 

Fourth in the Old Newton Cup just thirty five days ago he showed much improvement to land this under jockey Richard Kingscote for Tom Dascombe to beat a decent field and set himself up for a crack at some major prizes later in the autumn no doubt. 

In doing so he had a nice three length advantage over runner up Brorocco who himself is a reliable yardstick at this level but Teodoro was simply too good this afternoon, the winner actually came here for this as opposed to the Ebor but depending on the weather he might end up in Yorkshire in a few days time. 

Teodoro

Haydock’s other pattern contest was the Listed Dick Hern Stakes for the filly and mare brigade over 1m which brought a classic winner of 2017 into the Haydock winners enclosure as Unforgettable Filly in the colours of Dr Ali Ridha bounced right back to her best to land the spoils as she romped to an eight length win ahead of New Day Dawn in impressive style here, she showed signs of a revival at Ascot two weeks ago and the headgear looks to have worked the oracle with her now, a crack in higher company will now be the next step for her. 

Unforgettable Filly

Mister Belvedere from the Darlington based yard of Michael Dods completed the big race double as he landed the Ladies’ Trophy race over 1m4f, two starts back Mister Belvedere won the Queen Mother’s Cup at York and while this one had no champagne or the cash prize bonus to the winning rider as in recent years it’s still a big race and Paula Muir who was in the saddle today just got the verdict from the judge in a real thrilling finish from Birds Of Prey under Megan Nicholls but in the end it was a case of the butler getting the better of the avians!

Finally the Dascombe,Kingscote combination landed a double with the opening race a 3yo handicap over 1m being landed by No I’m Easy who appreciated being moved back up to a mile from a lowering mark of 75 to get the better of Ayutthaya by half a length, this was his first since landed a 2yo contest last year, he won this in the colours of The Groundhog Day Partnership and given his form so far this season even Punxsutawney Phil probably wouldn’t have given him a shout but he hopefully should be able to kick on now and no doubt the owners will be more than happy to relive this day over and over again!

All in all some decent racing but in a week and a half time we pop over the border to York for the first day of the Ebor meeting, till then goodbye.  

Advertisements

Pontefract and Ripon Races,Friday 21st & Saturday 22nd July 2018

On Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival Eve the racing eyes of the White Rose County came in huge droves to Pontefract for the annual Red Shirt Night with a fairy useful card and despite some small fields which have been occurring due to this rare dry spell in the north, the crowd were treated to some good finishes.  

Pontefract always draws a big crowd in for this fixture and despite local Super League teams Castleford and Leeds both having home games it didn’t detract as the good Yorkshire folk descended to the M62 based course, famous for Pontefract Cakes,Haribo and for railway fans a chance to still see the Northern Rail Pacer trains which still operate on the network around here as the trundle along the line just across the road from the 1m2f start. 

The evenings valuable contest came in the 1m Optional Claiming Handicap and this was taken by the David O’Meara trained Waarif who followed up from last months success in the Carlisle Bell to land the spoils, upped 5lb for that win he had enough in hand to hold off Fashion Theory by three quarters of a length and remains in good form and is a consistent yardstick at this level, going in here off 86 the handicapper should move him to over 90 when next reassessed, he will have plenty options open to him in bigger company but for now he is in a good run of form. 

Watchable landed the first of what became a double for the O’Meara yard when landing the feature 5f Handicap in what became a battle of the oldies as the evergreen 8yo beat former Group 1 winning fellow sprinter the 10yo Move In Time by a length and a half, this was a nice race to watch and both still clearly love their racing. 

Watchable

Pontefract’s opening race was a 2yo Novice Auction over 6f race that saw a winning debut from Metallic Black under Tony Hamilton and this was a fairly decent performance as he made most of the running and kept on towards the end and should be a more than useful enough sprinter in time, the big disappointment came in the favourite Hot Team who didn’t get the best break and was always on the backfoot but he can be forgiven for this and when he gets upped back in trip to 7f he will be a lot better than tonight’s run 

Mark Johnstone has his horses in good order as always at this time of year and Hibernicus easily followed up his maiden win at Carlisle to stroll home in the 1m4f Novice Stakes, this was a fairly weak race but he could no more than win as expected he is one to keep an eye on during the rest of the season. 

Hibernicus

The following day saw the beautiful garden racecourse of Ripon open up the ever popular 2019 Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival with a seven race card and the days feature race was the 1m4f Ripon Bell-Ringer Handicap which stuck to its tradition of having the said person ring the bell on the winning line the moment the stalls open and the runners begin their journey. 

This years race was a very useful event with plenty of the big Yorkshire trainers represented and a proper grandstand finish at the business end with the top five covered by a length and three quarters as the first prize of £15,562.50 found its way to Mrs Shirley France the owner of Benadalid as the only 3yo in the race came down the outside of the long Ripon home straight to deny Tim Easterby of a clean sweep of this famous race, the step up in trip clearly suits Benadalid and should be suited by even further, it’s doubtful he is a Melrose type but a shot at a bigger target looks likely now. 

Benadalid

Jockey David Nolan made sure his good lady wife Katie kept him in her good books as her horse that she owns with trainer Richard Fahey landed the 5f 2yo Novice Stakes in good style and looks to have a fairly bright future, having run at the track before it’s possible that a return here for the Ripon 2yo Trophy would be a good choice as opposed to the big York 2yo events at the Ebor Meeting. 

Weellan continued his love affair with Ripon as this is the second time he was won here in both his career wins to take the 1m Handicap to form the second of a David Nolan hat-trick on the day and it’s possible the Ripon Rowells here might be considered for the David O’Meara trained 5yo, Nolan’s other win came in the finale on Stewardess. 

Finally Winged Spur looks a filly going places as she made all in typical Mark Johnstone fashion to land the 1m2f Handicap as she kept finding more when asked and is one to keep onside for the time being. 

Winged Spur

Two useful days racing in Yorkshire and plenty to enjoy and note down for the future. 

Next up we return to Haydock in a few weeks time for the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes, till then it’s goodbye. 

Haydock Park, Saturday 7th July 2018, Bet365 Old Newton Cup Day

On a boiling hot afternoon in the midst of a proper British sporting summer at Haydock Park it was an afternoon of celebrations for the Owners Group 004 Syndicate as they very much like Harry Kane is hoping to do next Sunday lifted up an historic sporting trophy as their pride and joy Rainbow Rebel landed the 2018 running of the Old Newton Cup in a real head bobbing finish from Crowned Eagle in a pulsating end to this famous Haydock flat race. 

The pace was strong from the gates opening as Atkinson Grimshaw set a decent and honest gallop from the off and still had the lead turning into the straight but like most breakaways that you will see in the Tour De France over the next three weeks he was quickly gathered in by the peloton with three furlongs left and dropped right back down the field, Rainbow Rebel came through to lead under Joe Fanning with half a furlong left and got the verdict in the judges box in a race that always has a lot of drama about it. 

Mark Johnston was landing his third Old Newton Cup in six years with Rainbow Rebel and was following up from a recent win at Pontefract, plenty of options will be open for him while he’s in this rich vein of form and a trip down the Goodwood as part of the huge contingent that he always sends down south each year may be in order, one horse who caught the eye back in third was Atty Persse who was making his seasonal debut here, he ran well in the race and should come on loads for this. 

Rainbow Rebel

Haydock’s other big race was the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks over 1m4f which looked a decent enough renewal albeit not quite full of top middle distance class fillies and mares. 

Just like in the Old Newton Cup the judge was needed with the magnifying glass in the end giving the casting vote to Horseplay under David Probert from the Andrew Balding yard by a short head from last months Pinnacle winner God Given. 

God Given set out to make all under Jamie Spencer and had plenty of them under pressure as they came to the business end of the race, in the last furlong she began to be ridden and got headed in the final half furlong but stuck to the task very well. 

Horseplay certainly came to table with decent form in the book, runner up in the Middleton on her season debut at York behind Coronet who went on to be second in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, she has certainly added a bit more to her paddock value here, connections have some fair options for her such as the Lily Langtree at Goodwood and the Grosser Preis Von Baden in Germany plus she has a Yorkshire Oaks entry and that could also be an option depending how the return of Enable goes. 

Mark Johnston was also off to a winning start in the first race this afternoon as Making Miracles under top course jockey Richard Kingscote hacked up in the opening staying handicap over 1m6f and clearly benefited from the step up in distance after being mid division over 1m4f at Royal Ascot recently, one obvious target after this would be the Melrose at York and maybe a return back to Haydock for the Old Borough Cup here in September also being a gelding a fair owners from the jumping world may be thinking about waving the cheque books out. 

Two other races that caught the eye were the 6f sprints, the first one a Conditions Stakes was taken pretty easily by Mythmaker as he reversed course form with Intisaab who beat him by a neck back here in May, this is his level of racing for sure and he gives his all in them. 

The second one was a fine performance by the Richard Hannon trained Buridan who breezed home in the 6f handicap in the style of an improving horse as he clearly is a ahead of his winning mark of 85 and his owners Al Shaqab have a top sprinter in the making here and after the Eclipse success of Roaring Lion earlier on this will have added a little bit extra in the celebrations. 

A top notch day of racing then at Haydock, next up we we venture off to Yorkshire for a Friday and Saturday diet of racing at Pontefract and Ripon so expect a nice “Best Of” from what is always a nice couple of days over the border!

Till then it’s goodbye. 

Haydock Park,Saturday 9th July 2018,Sparkling Saturday

One week ago racing had the Oaks and a week later Luca Cumani began the charge on the two Northern versions of the Epsom classic this summer when God Given put up a mighty battle hardened display to land the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes giving Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani his second Pinnacle winner since 2004. 

In what looked a fair but not high quality renewal the 4yo filly who landed a Group 3 over 12f in Deauville last year showed plenty of guts after her seasonal reappearance at Ascot last month to take this race fending off the attentions of runner up Crimson Rosette in the last furlong, she is reportedly coming back in July for the Lancashire Oaks over the same course and distance and off this run she will be in the shake up and should God Given oblige then a pop over the border to the Yorkshire Oaks will have to come under serious consideration too one would expect.  

With Enable being out of action for the summer it does leave the middle distance races for the fillies and mares wide open and God Given might be the saviour for this division of the sport. 

God Given


Haydock’s other feature Group 3 was the 7f John O’Gaunt Stakes that provided a real grandstand finish with three in line at the end with last weekends Derby winning jockey and trainer duo of William Buick and Charlie Appleby landing the spoils as D’bai showed the benefit of a return back up in trip to 7f as he just landed the race by a head from Larchmont Lad and Tabarrak. 

D’bai has been a fairly busy horse this year, winning over 7f at Meydaan in January then being a gallant runner up to top sprinter The Tin Man at Windsor a few weeks ago D’bai showed that he’s a real 7f specialist, with no Group One races over this trip then he would have to stick to Group Two with targets being the Lennox,Hungerford,Park and Challenge Stakes respectively, D’bai may himself on his travels no doubt to either France or America, he does having a couple of wins over a mile too so Godolphin may think about moving him back up in trip too. 

The evergreen popular speedster Muthmir duly gave his fans compensation as he picked up the Listed Achilles Stakes by a head from Alpha Delphini just two weeks after a poor showing in the Temple Stake back here over course and distance, the crowd really appreciated seeing him bounce back to winning ways and the William Haggas trained 8yo now looks set to avoid Royal Ascot and possibly find himself going across the channel to France for races as he still shows that he retains all his ability but probably not at the biggest level of all.  

Mark Johnston had the first winner of the day with Sea Youmzain in a bizarre race in which the well fancied Podemos went off like a scolded cat down the back straight but was soon collared with three furlongs left resulting in a second win on the bounce for Sea Youmzain who showed lots of heart as she landed the spoils, following up from her recent handicap debut win at Nottingham she looks a little ahead of the handicapper here off 79 but for the moment it is a case of striking while the iron is hot. 

Warm weather and the forecast rain failed to materialise at a sunny Haydock Park then and produced some thrilling finishes in what was a fairly low key Saturday as is expected in that gap between the Derby and Royal Ascot. 

Racing wise the next meeting planned will be Lancashire Oaks Day back here followed by a couple of days in Yorkshire at Pontefract and Ripon a few weeks later. 

Till next time,Goodbye. 

Haydock Park,Saturday 26th May 2018,Armstrong Temple Stakes Day. 

Anyone walking into Haydock this afternoon were probably thinking that the course manager had taken security to extremes given the behaviour and past times being indulged at courses down in the southern region as the Army,Navy and Air Force were out in the Be Friendly Enclosure as Haydock were supporting them as has been the case over the past few years. 

On the track though it was all about the speedsters and boy did they entertain the crowd in thunderous style producing some excellent racing and thrilling finishes. 

Saturday’s feature race was the Group 2 Temple Stakes over the flying 5 furlongs and what a finish we got, first up favourite and one of the worlds highest rated 5f sprinters Battaash came back from his winter break but boy did he have a fight on his hands to land the prize. 

From the stalls Kachy made a beeline straight for the far rail, Battaash missed the break but got a nice tow off Take Cover as he kept to the near side, approaching the furlong pole Kachy still led but Battaash was finding his feet and began to hit top flight eventually getting his head in front as the lollipop came in time from the fast finishing in behind pair of Washington DC and recent Palace House scorer Mab’s Cross. 

Make no mistake this was a tough race for Battaash as he as giving weight away to all and he had to show his true grit to land it, next step will be the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot with the Nunthorpe and Prix de L’Abbaye being the other major targets over this trip, he will also come on a ton seeing as this was his seasonal debut too. 

Washington DC is a real enigma of a horse, solid and consistent with the notable fact that this 5yo is still an entire and this will boost his fee for the mares by a few Euros, Kachy back in third ran a top race considering he prefers racing around turns. 

Battaash

3yo sprinters had their Commonwealth Cup Trial on the card with the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes over 6f and this years renewal looked a race full of promise with lots of potential on offer. 

In the end last years Gimcrack winner Sands Of Mali from Richard Fahey’s yard followed up from his recent Group win at Chantilly to put himself firmly in the picture for the Commonwealth Cup as well as sending the owners of The Cool Silk Partnership down to local Tailors to get measured up for the morning dress as he just got the nod in a photo from Invincible Army in a top notch finish, both horses brought top 2yo form to the race and they should face off against each other in a few weeks time at Royal Ascot. 

Invincible Army is an Ascot course winner and that will help him in good stead,it would be no shock to see the form get reversed but both are top sprinters, back in third was Emblazoned having his first foray into top level racing and he acquitted himself well. 

Sands Of Mali

The ladies had their turn in the Cecil Frail over 6f and this result brought about a deafening silence from the crowd as Classical Times hosed up at 20-1 no doubt to much delight of the bookies, most recently a runner up in the Kilvington at Nottingham this was only her second career win and a first win since landing her maiden at Redcar last season, Peter Chapple-Hyam will no doubt be glad to have got some black type with her and although she is useful at best it might be hard to see her following up, Raven’s Lady who was fifth in the Kilvington was runner up here so that form is stacking up nicely. 

Handicap wise the big race of the day came in the Silver Bowl over 1m for 3yo and Clive Cox has a very likeable type with Crack On Crack On who weaved his way through traffic to make it two wins on the bounce following on from his Lingfield win over 7f last time out, only upped 5lb for that he is clearly progressing in the right way and could prove to be a little ahead of the handicapper, back in second was Completion who ran honourable in defeat but could be better on a straight course as his two wins at Redcar and Newcastle have proved to be just so. 

It wasn’t just speedsters on the whole card as the stayers opened proceedings with a two mile handicap that went the way of the William Haggas trained The Grand Visir who appreciated the step up to this trip as he stayed on stoutly under James Doyle and if anything looked to be going on nicely at the end, he is reportedly going to have a crack at the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f and he looked like he could get that trip although expect a few from the NH world to be having a few nice sorts with exploitable marks for that contest. 

In glorious weather the crowd enjoyed some absolute top class flat racing and we shall be back here in two weeks time for John O’Gaunt and Pinnacle Stakes Day, hopefully the weather will still be here for it!

York Races,Wednesday 16th May 2018, Dante Festival Day One

York flung the doors open on its 2018 season and for many who follow all things flat this was a true sign that the flat was now fully into top gear. 

The season may be two classics old but York coming to the party always brings a welcome to everyone who see it like the return of an old friend that has been in hibernation and undergone the odd R&R session. 

Certain sporting venues have a charm about them and the Knavesmire never fails to disappoint and what a year it promises to be with its flagship handicap in August, The Ebor getting a prize fund of 500,000 before being doubled next year to £1,000,000 putting it on a par with that other northern stalwart race that goes by the name of the Grand National. 

Flat racing got a much loved star from the Class of 2017 return in winning style as Harry Angel landed the feature Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes over 6f in pretty decent fashion under Adam Kirby for Clive Cox in the Godolphin Blue jacket to get him nicely teed up for next months Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot. 

Sadly only five went to post for this £55,700 first place money which was a shame but take nothing away from Harry Angel as he showed his class giving away weight to the others including recent Abernant winner Brando who had to settle for Best Supporting Sprinter this afternoon. 

One worry regarding Harry Angel is that Ascot isn’t his course so should he flop it would be no shock with the other big two 6f races, the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup are this horses main targets during the core of the season. 

Harry Angel

Classic Clues were also on offer in the Group 2 Musidora over 1m2f as seven went to post with five of the fillies holding an entry in the Oaks in just over two and a bit weeks time at Epsom. 

On a day where the weather had mixed ideas over what to do but thankfully the heavens decided to have the day off it was an Exiled Yorkshireman who took the prize down to Newmarket as the William Haggas trained Give And Take made an eye catching run to go one better than her recent Sandown race and win in decent style and should book her ticket for a crack at the main prize. 

In what looked a wide open race on paper the first six home were only covered by just shy of five lengths as Give And Take got the better of Dancing Brave Bear, she wasn’t stopping at the end and in all fairness she deserves a chance in the Oaks although wether or not she will win is another thing but Give And Take would be a lively outsider. 

Give And Take

Good to have York back and plenty of big days lie ahead, Hopefully your truly will be planning on making a return visit here in August for a day of the Ebor, probably International Day and see some top quality middle distance horses in action. 

Next up will be Haydock next Saturday with another top northern sprint race in the Group 2 Temple Stakes. 

Haydock Park,Saturday 12th May 2018,Pertemps Swinton Hurdle & Spring Trophy Day

Evan Williams continued his recent domination of the first big race of the 2018-19 National Hunt season as Silver Streak bounced back from his last run when unsuited by the Sandown swamp in the Imperial Cup to land the Grade 3 Swinton Hurdle on a far more greener and fresh surface at Haydock at the only mixed meeting in the British calendar. 

In an eventful race which had a sad postscript to it Silver Streak began last season taking the Free Hurdle at Chepstow and had ran consistently in better events, this was only his eleventh career race and has more to offer from this, connections could possibly eye up the other big two summer hurdles at Market Rasen and Galway added to this he has a flat rating of 69 which is very exploitable too. 

Sadly there was a sad end to the race as the four year old Act Of Valour under Bryony Frost took a crashing fall at the second last when coming through to lead and have a say in the race, he was supposed to run in the Chester Cup but missed the cut so the Paul Nicholls team decided to come up the road instead, he was travelling very well until this happened, Bryony looked very distraught and upset coming back in, Condolences to the McNeill Family on their loss. 

The rest of the other jumps races included Monbeg Theatre landing the Long Distance opener over 2m7f, making all under Miss Page Fuller (5) he followed up a last time out win at Cheltenham beating some very useful yardsticks including last months Grade 3 winner at Aintree in Jester Jet. 

Sean Bowen landed the last two races on the day which were both chases, first up Beggar’s Wish duly obliged from a last time out win at Market Rasen to breeze home in the 2m4 1/2f Intermediate Handicap Chase, taking over from the third last he was eased in the last half furlong and jumped nicely and in the last race a 2m3f Handicap Chase which had some real rogues in it saw Ruth Jefferson continue her good start to the season with Robbing The Prey picking up a nice prize and going in off 130 has more to offer with connections no doubt eyeing up a potential run at Aintree this Friday over 2m4f. 

On the flat the feature contest was the Listed 7f Spring Trophy which found its way going down to Marlborough and last weekends 1000 Guineas winning trainer Richard Hannon as Tabarrak got the better in a pulsating battle in the last furlong with favourite Mubtasim, the drop back to 7f after a poor show in the Doncaster Mile last time showed that 7f is his trip so races like the John O’Gaunt here next month and the big 7f races at Newbury and Goodwood in the summer will be potential options at a higher level. 

David O’Meara has his horses going nicely and his much well travelled Intisaab who has more air miles than the late Alan Whicker took the 6f Conditions Stakes with the assistance of the judges magnifying glass and a well timed ride by Martin Harley, only half a length covered the first three home and in what looked a tight race on paper,Intisaab who won a 6f Handicap in Doha,Qatar, back in February and was last sighted when fourth in the big AW Sprint race might be aimed at the Wokingham after this confidence boosting win 

Mont Kinabalu got the verdict in a four way tie in the 1m Handicap for 3yo under Tom Eaves for Kevin Ryan while the 1m6f Handicap looked like a match between three Newmarket flat trainers and two jumps trainers with the flat brigade showing them how it’s done with the first three home, Uber Cool being the one who came home first. 
A rather truncated review but on Wednesday the flat moves up a gear as we head to York. 
All being well  we will bring a live Watty & Mully Show from around 11.40 as we walk from York Station to the Knavesmire, Please do tune in on Periscope through the Twitter page