Haydock Park, Saturday 8th June 20109, Betway Sparkling Saturday

The Voyage Returns Home

On an afternoon that resembled a near monsoon with many sane people on course wondering why they didnt stay in the warm comforts of home, those who did brave the elements on the most non summer Saturday afternoon of the flat season saw Safe Voyage rack up his third successive course and distance win as he landed the feature Group 3 John O’Gaunt Stakes over 7f.

Already unbeaten this season in a handicap and a listed race here, Safe Voyage faced arguably his toughest test so far but came through this examination with another A* as he travelled sweetly under Jason Hart and was fully in command as they hit the line.

Haydock regulars always build up a nice affinity with horses who reappear and Safe Voyage has got his place firmly cemented here making it four course wins from four starts, there isn’t much for him now apart from the Superior Mile in September which could be a target along with a possible go at the Sprint Cup should the ground be soft to heavy, failing that possibly a trip abroad for a stakes race over 7f will be sought after.

Suedois chased him home back in second spot which was a nice back to form run for him.

Klassique Has Lancashire Classic Hopes

The battle of the Wills came out in Mr Haggis’ favour in the Group 3 1m4f Pinnacle Stakes as Klassique readily disposed of many peoples banker of the day, the Willie Mullins trained True Self as she bagged the Group 3 prize very easily.

In a race which looked pretty decent on paper all eyes were on the odds on favourite True Self and she travelled nicely under regular pilot Colin Keane but she didnt quite pick up when asked and struggled to quicken up in the heavy ground compared to Klassique who was away and in command under Danny Tudhope.

Hopefully she will make the trip back from Newmarket for next months Lancashire Oaks where she would hold an excellent chance of winning that particular race.

True Self lost nothing in defeat,she was simply beaten by a better horse on the day and will be back to winning ways soon.

India Slays Achilles Field

Preston based trainer Eric Alston has had plenty of useful horses over the years at Haydock Park and another one to add to the list came in the feature sprint race of the day in the Listed Achilles Stakes over 5f, lightly races for her age she picked up three races last season over 5f and 6f with the big win of those being a Class 2 Fillies Handicap at Pontefract, she loves to bowl along and got the run of the race here on the heavy ground under the steerage of Wigan born jockey Tom Eaves.

While this may not have been a strong race she has certainly added to her paddock value with some valuable black type and can find more as the season progresses, Eric would no doubt love to have her in September’s Sprint Cup, it’s just a case of how much more progressing will she do during the season, she does hold a Wokingham entry at the Royal meeting in the meantime

Back in second was the Karl Burke trained Lady In France, a 3yo filly having only her second start having won at Newcastle on her debut, she showed plenty of promise here and can improve from this.

Finally a couple of 3yo to keep onside in the trackers, first up Mind The Crack looks a good future staying type as he routed a small but select field in the 1m4f 3yo handicap, wearing the Paul and Clare Rooney colours and already gelded he made light of his opening mark of 83 and can kick on throught the ratings while in the 6f handicap for 3yo Came From The Dark came good on his handicap debut under Gerald Mosse.


Epsom Races,Friday 31st May 2019, Investec Oaks Day

Threesy Does It For Gosden

Six years since a first Oaks for John Gosden with Taghrooda followed up two years ago by the wondermare Enable and now Anapurna who continued her upward curve and unusual stat of having won all of her three races in the county of Surrey as she just got the edge over Pink Dogwood in a typical fight up the home straight on the rollercoaster track that is Epsom Downs.

A dual winner at Lingfield this year on the all weather and on the grass when she landed the Oaks Trial, Anapurna under the hands of Frankie Dettori had to use every ounce of fight in her to get the measure of Pink Dogwood and Ryan Moore to make it three Oaks wins for John Gosden and fifth one for Frankie in the roll of honour of this historic contest.

They went a reasonable gallop from the word go although the towards the end the closers in behind were making a bit of headway but fortunately the line came up in time, there was plenty of bumping and barging in the peleton behind the front pair which did bring an inquiry by the stewards which resulted in a few days holiday for some of the riders involved.

It looked an upto scratch version this year although with the first two separated by half a length and a blanket covering the four in behind who chased them home then its fairly possible the form could get reversed should a rematch at the Curragh next month between most of these come up.

Defoe Scores First Group One!

Friday’s other feature Group One came in the Coronation Cup which brought a much deserved success not just to the owner,trainer and jockey but for fans who wanted this to happen so much as Defoe finally got that big win at the highest level as he ran on tennaciously to take the scalp of last years Leger winner Kew Gardens, last out of the gate he ran on stoutly under Andrea Atzeni to give trainer Roger Varian and himself two wins in this showpiece race.

Ascot for King George in July is reportedly the planned target as 1m4f is his best trip, being a gelding means he wont be eligible for the Arc so possibly something like the Woodbine International in Canada would be a more feasible race to go for and maybe a visit to Australia for “the race that stops the nation” could be stirring in the trainers mind?

Kew Gardens lost nothing in defeat but this is two second places in a row now for him, he clearly is suited by a bit further, his main aim will certainly be the King George too and the Irish Leger also looks ideal for him, Lah Ti Dar was very disappointing in behind and it would be no shock if she were to go back up north for the Lancashire Oaks in July to go for what could be a much easier race to get her confidence back.

Blues Hits Right Note

Charlie Appleby has his string in good heart at the moment and of the two winners he had on the day one which stood out was Space Blues who won the Listed Surrey Stakes over 7f, tackling pattern company for the first time he looked up to the job and ran on nicely, plenty of options remain at Royal Ascot such as the Commonwealth Cup and the Jersey Stakes, he will stay a mile in due course and remains a nice prospect.

The Godolphin Blue also got on the board in the opening Woodcote Stakes for 2yo over the 6f trip as Pinatubo took the spoils in the style of a good horse, following up from his debut win at Wolverhampton he is bred to get much further in the future, given fair quotes for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot which could be next but that race might not suit him with both wins so far being on turning tracks, he is one to keep an eye on.

Coming up this Saturday we head to Haydock for the John O’Gaunt Stakes, till then goodbye.

Haydock Park, Saturday 25th May 2019,Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes Day

Battaash Cements Victory

Battaash joined Mind Games and Kingsgate Native in being dual winners of this famous sprint when he obliterated a small but select field of five furlong speedsters as he scorched his way up the Haydock turf to land Saturday’s feature race as he kicked off his 2019 season in style.

In a race which had winners of many of the big specialist races over the minimum trip Battaash travelled supremely well under Jim Crowley and when asked to pick up he readily came to the front from which point it was Game Over for the rest of his rivals, Alpha Delphini and Mabs Cross both gave a gallant chase in behind but neither could live with the winner who was simply the best on the day.

The first three should all meet again next month in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot and that should make for a race to savour.

Before that we had something of a turn up in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes over 6f as odds on favourite Calyx was comprehensively walloped by the Kevin Ryan trained Hello Youmzain who won with plenty of conviction under Kevin Stott to throw his hat in the ring for the Commonwealth Cup.

Calyx came into this off the back of an Ascot win where as Hello Youmzain was fourth in the Greenham at Newbury and was dropping back in trip, both travelled nicely into the race then when given the key to the door Calyx began to hang over to the far rail and was lucky to hang on for second spot where was Hello Youmzain ran on readily and looks set for a crack at Royal Ascot and stay sprinting this season with a return here in September all the more possible.

As for Calyx he now has to rebuild his reputation after a poor showing, he is clearly a far better horse than this but now the jury will be out after him should he do this again.

On a day when British horses were bagging big pots in Ireland the reverse was done here in the Cecil Frail as Forever In Dreams from Aidan Fogarty’s yard bagged an ultra competitive renewal at 16-1, formerly trained in France she was 7th in last years Queen Mary and ran well enough on debut for this stable at Cork just over two weeks ago, this will certainly enhance her paddock value and she is one to keep an eye on.

Haydock’s big handicap came in the second race which was the ultra competitive Silver Bowl over 1m for 3yo and no doubt big race sponsors Amix Concrete would have told the representative of H.R.H. Princess Haya of Jordan that they could offer her and husband Sheikh Mohammed a discount on a new driveway or three after her horse Beatboxer came from the clouds to deny Munhamek as they hit the line in a race full of incident in the early stages.

Beatboxer was dropping back in trip from 1m2f and of all his three wins they have all come on courses with a turn as both his poor showings have been at Newmarket so while a go at the Britannia would seem logical it would be far better to aim him for a race with a turn, Munhamek is an improving type in second and should gain compensation soon, this is always a race to keep an eye on as the season goes on.

Finally the opening race was a two mile handicap which saw Lucky Deal bounce back to form under Franny Norton, after a poor showing in the Chester Cup a couple of weeks ago he seemed far happier on this quicker surface and breezed to the lead in the last couple of furlongs to win very nicely and should improve to get himself into the reckoning for the Northumberland Plate.

Next up on here in what has been a busy schedule we head down to Epsom on Friday for the Investec Oaks and Coronation Cup, that will be well worth the trip down.

Till then, Goodbye

Haydock Park, Saturday 11th May 2019, Pertemps Swinton Hurdle Day.

The North West’s racing roadshow moved from Chester for the short hop across the M56 then a brief dash up the M6 to Haydock for the UK’s only mixed meeting which brought races from 6f to 2m7f on the level and over hurdles and fences.

In weather which was far better than the monsoon two weeks ago and this week at the Roodee it was a case of when the Linen Suit met the Tweed, the Panama met the Flat Cap and the taller jockeys met the much shorter ones!

Patriote Gains Swinton Glory

2011 was the last time the top weight went in but Sam Twiston-Davies landed his first win the first big race of the new jumps season on Le Patriote came home a ready winner in what looked on paper an ultra competitive renewal of this famous handicap.

Trained by Dr Richard Newland he came back from his winter break with a nice success over further at Cheltenham last month and looks set for another holiday before the return of the core season, a possible go at the Greatwood despite being a long way off could be a potential target.

Project Bluebook came second with former Swinton winner John Constable back in third spot, sadly Arthington suffered a fatal injury in the race and we offer our condolences to all involved.

Frost Shines Again

A new season and no let up from Bryony Frost who landed a nice win in the opener on the Neil King trained Canyon City, last spotted in a three mile hurdle on Grand National Day when sixth he travelled nicely before going ahead towards the final flight and despite hitting it this was a taking performance, going in off 137 he also has a mark of 76 on the flat which given his current form could certainly be exploited at this stage.

As usual the crowd lapped up Bryony and in the post race interview on the podium mentioned that due to this meeting be a mixed one she actually felt tall for once being around the flat jockeys.

Voyage Returns Home

On the flat the afternoon’s big race came in the Listed Spring Trophy over 7f and like the last meeting the feature went the way of the John Quinn trained Safe Voyage who recorded course and distance win number three here and despite the small field of seven he did meet trouble in running as the race got going up the straight but he managed to show he had made the requisite improvement to go up in grade.

Clearly he loves Haydock and connections have mentioned going for a Group 3 race next, with his good form here surely another return for the John O’Gaunt over 7f would be ideal unless a hop over the channel to France would be preferred instead.

Best Of The Rest

Shabaaby kick started his sprinting career back in style by getting the better of Emblazoned to bag the 6f Conditions Stakes nicely under Jim Crowley for Owen Burrows, a dual winner as a 2yo he didnt progress at all last season but a gelding operation looks to have helped work the oracle and he could be in for a decent summer, the way he ran on at the end showed he could easily be effective at 7f too, a race in patter company looks imminent.

Graham Lee used the horse wisely as Jedhi landed the saying handicap over 1m6f with consummate ease, breezing up in the last quarter mile she is one to keep in those trackers and no doubt Hughie Morrison will be eager to pick up some black type with her, The force is certainly strong with this one as win readily she did!

Finally Nicky Henderson had a good reason to smile after Whisper’s poor showing earlier on as Brave Eagle streaked away with the 2m5f Intermediate Chase under Nico De Boinville, only 7yo he has some chasing experience although this trip being a little bit shorter than his best showed he does have a turn of foot, possibly a trip to Perth or Uttoxeter for their big summer chases would suit him than the Summer Plate.


Emblazoned, 4yo Colt was runner up in the 6f Conds Race but don’t rule him out from improving during the season, can make into a nice sprinter.

Politicise, 3yo Gelding trained by William Haggas might be in danger of being a nearly horse but kept on in the 1m Hcap to show a move to 1m2f would be no bad thing to do with him.

Haydock Park, Saturday 27th April 2019, Flat Season Opener

More Boston Glory For Voyage

Owner Ross Harmon would certainly have had more than a feeling that Safe Voyage would repeat his win of last years Betway Old Boston Handicap over 7f and thats exactly what his 6yo charge did as he duly obliged to kick off his season in fine style under Jason Hart.

Run in very wet conditions which resembled the sort of weather usually seen at Haydock Park’s winter fixtures he stayed on strongly off a much bigger mark than last year of 103, this was only his 17th career race and should offer more, lightly raced last season he could come back in two weeks for the Spring Trophy over 7f which will have a much smaller field, he is an out and out 7f horse but make no mistake his trainer John Quinn will have bigger things in mind for him

Safe Voyage

The other big race of the day came in the Betway Edge Green Handicap over 1m which had a very competitive look about it and it should throw up plenty of future winners.

This years renewal went the way of the Simon Crisford trained Mordin who hadn’t been spotted since being runner up in last season’s Cambridgeshire, he did have to work for this but picked up when he needed to, he will have even more bigger days this season in the good 1m-1m2f races and is a solid yardstick.


That win was the meat in the sandwich for a hat trick of wins for Pat Cosgrave who also landed a win for Godolphin in Div 1 of the 1m Novice Stakes for 3yo fillies on Search For Light who could more than useful on what was her first ever race and in the finale on the Richard Price trained Bristol Missile.

Finally Mick Channon looks to have a useful prospect on his hands with Severance who put up the most impressive performace of the day to take the 1m4f Novice event for 3yo, very keen early on he took the lead after the first half mile or so from which he galloped some useful sorts into submission, this colt by Nathaniel looks every inch a stayer in the making and could get slightly further in time, Make My Day chased him home albeit seven lenghts behind and can pick a race of this type up sooner rather than later



Tabassor, 3yo filly, she ran with promise in Div 1 of fhe 1m Novice Stakes for fillies which was arguably the better division and back in third on debut shaped as if she will have learnt plenty.

Knighted, 4yo gelding from Kevin Ryan’s didnt like the soft ground here but was a respectable fifth place, back on a sounder surface he can be winning soon.

Next up in two weeks time its the best of both codes as the first big race of the new jumps season comes up with the Swinton Hurdle plus on the flat the Spring Trophy, till then goodbye

Haydock Park,Saturday 20th April 2019,Challenger Finals Day

Mahlermade Gets Owners Jammin!

The crowds came to Haydock Park for the final jump meeting of the season on an afternoon dubbed the “Greatest Show” and while Hugh Jackman didnt appear in the beautiful sunshine that gazed upon Haydock on Easter Saturday the owners, The Lesser Lights” had their own showman in Wayne Hutchinson who successfully steered thirteen race maiden Mahlermade home to break his duck and bag the Challenger Staying Chase final over 3m1f 125yds in the process.

A talented yet frustrating sort Mahlermade has always had a race of this nature in him and this afternoon he finally came good, only a 6yo he should have some more big days in him next season in some of those good quality long distance events, Quarenta back in second was travelling nicely but couldnt quite get his head in front.

Of the other races Cubswin just held on to land the 2m Hurdle Final holding off the fast finishing Arthington.

Taking this off 126 she has a very workable flat mark of 78 so expect to see her possibly back here for the Swinton in three weeks time and some useful middle distance handicaps on the level too before being aimed at those big two summer hurdles at Market Rasen and Galway.

Jonjo O’Neill Jr gave his father a nice payday too when Django Django duly obliged in the Staying Hurdle Final, last spotted when finishing down the field back here in January he had clearly been aimed for this as opposed to going for one of the big festivals and this 6yo looks a thorough stayer in the making and should be going chasing next season where he shoud make his presence felt in the staying division.

Another season of jumps comes to a close then with plenty of top races and stories told on and off the track, from here we now switch our attentions to the flat with a quick return back to Haydock on Saturday for the opening flat meeting in the North West.

Till then, Goodbye

2019 Randox Health Grand National Festival.

Tiger Is Grrrr-eat Again!!!

Once again Irish eyes were smiling upon Aintree and at a time when most people would be getting their tea ready,jockey Davy Russell had a dream armchair ride on the enigmatic and egoless superstar that is the equine talent Tiger Roll to land back to back runnings of the most famous steeplechase in the whole world.

This was Gigginstown’s third win and boy do they like to do it with horses that have a style of their own, when Rule The World did it in 2016 he was a maiden over fences and Tiger Roll who is more of an expert over obstacles that are coloured green has that cult following which makes him popular in the game.

In the race he was always going well and travelling sweetly, despite making a slight error at the fourth last which didnt affect him that much,he moved away from runner up Magic Of Light with total ease like he knew he was the boss of this place to equal Manifesto, Reynoldstown, Abd-El-Kader,The Colonel and of course Red Rum to make it double Grand Nationals and now many are hoping that next year he comes back to equal Red Rum to make it three on the bounce.

Many horses who land this valuable race often struggle to win again but Tiger Roll now joins the likes of Pineau De Re and the much missed and much loved Many Clouds in winning after tasting Aintree glory and surely more visits to the number one spot will still be coming for this 9yo.

For trainer Gordon Eliiot this was his third win in the National and no doubt a few drinks or three will have been taken to toast the success of the Tiger.

Of the forty horses who set off, nineteen completed, seven came to grief with Up For Review sadly suffering a fatal injury at the first fence and the rest pulling up.

Back in second was the ultra consistent mare Magic Of Light and he held every chance until a mistake cost her a chance of glory but only an 8yo she should be back next year for another bash.

Rathvinden ran an honourable third and the best British trained horse came with Becher winner Walk In The Mill in fourth spot.

Thursday Review.

Thursday was a very cold,bleak and wet afternoon with rain pouring in, Aintree can get very rough when the weather turns and that day was no exception.

In the Betway Bowl, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh were in heaven as Kemboy followed the same routine as Tea For Two did in 2017 of falling at an early fence in the Gold Cup,have a potter around then gain redemption as he did when making all to land the Grade 1 Chase over 3m1f, he was always in command and travelled nicely, this gives Willie Mullins and Ireland their very own version of the Kauto Star V Denman problem with Al Boum Photo no doubt enjoying seeing his stable mate on the telly hoping both csn do battle in the Gold Cup next season.

ITV host Ed Chamberlin no doubt had memories of his old employers when the Jessica Harrington trained SupaSundae landed a pulsating and thrilling finish to the Aintree Hurdle as he just edged out Buveur D’air and Ch’tibello, Supasundae has been consistent without winning this season and although Buveur D’air had two wins he hasnt been at his best at all, getting caught in the fall of Melon didnt aid to his cause.

Over the big greens in the Foxhunters’ Chase we had a real emotional story that this place is all about with Top Wood rallying under Tabitha Worsley for trainer Kelly Morgan.

Back in 2017 Tabitha broke her back in a fall at Ludlow which resulted in a rebuild job so big that you would need to apply to the council for planning permission, after surgery most would think about putting their stirrups up but not Tabitha who came back and landed a win on the biggest stage of all.

Friday Review.

Ladies Day was a bit overcast but much more kinder no doubt for the many thousands of the Liverpool ladies who plan this day out with almost military planning.

On the track the days feature came in the Grade 1 JLT Chase otherwise known as the Melling over 2m4f and just like the previous day it was the Mullins and Walsh show as Min revered the form of last year by obliterating Politologue in a real routting by going from flag to wire with consummate ease, back over this trip he is looking far comfortable and no doubt all eyes will be aimed at the Ryanair next season with a possible final run at Punchestown looking likely.

Colin Tizzard unveiled yet another quality staying chaser in Lostintranslation who looks a three miler now by landing the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, he did bag the Dipper at Cheltenham on New Years Day but relishes this test and could be a Gold Cup contender depending on how he goes on next season.

Cadmium landed another festival winner for Willie Mullins when easily taking the Topham Trophy over the National fences pretty stylishly, he jumped these nicely under Paul Townend and no doubt Willie Mullins will be making sure he meets the criteria for next season National as he could in with a chance of doing so.

Finally Mark Walsh made the most of a spare ride from Barry Geraghty taking a tumble as he hacked up on the Nicky Henderson trained and JP McManus owned Champ who landed the Grade 1 Sefton Novice Hurdle very nicely, held up to get the three mile trip the potential in this horse has still yet to be untapped and he remains an exciting chasing prospect for next season.

Three days of pure emotional action at Aintree comes to a close, on the track the crowds bore witness to exciting sport and off the track the colour and the people of Liverpool once again showed that the love and passion for this sport remains at an all time high.