Aintree Races, Saturday 4th December 2021, Unibet Becher Chase Day

A very testing day for human and equines alike at Aintree with rain,cold and wind being thrown at all who attended for a top class afternoon of jump racing, Before racing began the course fell silent before the first race in tribute to 12yo girl Ava Green who sadly lost her life last week in Liverpool, May the angels be looking after her and her family in these tragic circumstances

Leopardess Leaps For Becher Glory

In a finish which was very reminiscent of tbe 1973 Grand National although on this occasion the one who was in front as they came down to the elbow actually held on, Snow Leopardess put in a beautiful round of jumping over these famous green spruce monsters to land the Becher Chase in an pulsating finish that befitted a race of this nature.

From the release of the orange knicker elastic out in the country there was plenty of pace on in testing conditions and she took the lead just after taking the Chair and Water Jumps, from that the mare sailed over the fences including a huge leap at Becher’s, her lead was being reduced quite markedly as Hill Sixteen dug in under Craig Nichol despite being out of the handicap by a few pounds but Aidan Coleman kept Snow Leopardess going all out as the line came up in time.

This was a performance that heated up the crowd who braved the elements to appreciate a high quality mare, wether or not she comes back in April is up for debate, Charlie Longsdon is certainly tempted although the owner isn’t as keen but she will have an entry and could get a nice weight but in all probability it might not happen.

Hill Sixteen ran a sound race in defeat and stayed on right towards the and looks more than likely to be here in April for the big one.

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Andrews On Cloud Nine

Arguably the most impressive performance of the day came in the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase as Bridget Andrews gained one of her biggest career wins as she had a dream ride on  the Dan Skelton trained Protektorat who oozed class in the Aintree mud to land the spoils.

As expected the pace was solid from the outset with the 11yo warriors Native River and Wishing And Hoping trading blows like two boxers in the ring but Protektorat sat off it early and made up the ground before passing Native River after the cross fence from which it was a case of how far?

That turned out to be around twenty five lengths from the former Gold Cup winner who ran his heart out but had no match for the youth of today, Protektorat was outpaced early in last months Paddy Power at Cheltenham but ran on to show that three miles might be better for him and that showed to be bang on, The Gold Cup has been touted although now he is twice a winner here in Graded company possibly the Bowl over course and distance in April might be a more attainable target.

Dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll was pulled up after the first circuit and was never really travelling, he got a warm round of applause from the crowd to show their love and respect, he has nothing to prove now but wether or not his airline owning owner decides to keep running him is for his concience to decide.

Sea Sessions Shines Superbly

Irish trainer Ross O’Sullivan gained his first ever Aintree success in the training ranks with Sea Sessions who overcame choppy waters to arrive in winners berth number one at the winners enclosure dock as she landed the Juvenile Hurdke for Fillies.

On what looked a reasonable if not spectacular race on paper she came down the near side under Jonathan Burke and ran away from runner up Calvados at the end for an Irish 1-2-3-4, gaining some good black type in the process Sea Sessions will probably head to Leopardstown over Christmas unless connections decide to find a more suitable opportunity elsewhere.

Houghton Glory For Zambella

Zambella gave Nigel Twiston-Davies plenty to smile about as she put in a power packed punch of a performance to bag the rerouted Houghton Mares’ Chase which like the 2019 running was rerouted down the M6 from Carlisle after being abandoned last Sunday.

Making all under Daryl Jacob she jumped like a buck here to easily beat Annie Mc by just over five lengths, a country mile back in third was favourite Elimay who never seemed happy and struggled in the conditions, she can be forgiven for this.

The winner will almost certainly be aimed at the big mares event at the festival in March, she is a very likeable type and looks to have more big days ahead of her and it would be no surprise to see her try her luck in open company during the rest of the season unless she sticks to the mares races.

Round Up

This was arguably one of the toughest afternoons weather wise at Aintree, but the jockeys were very sensible especially in the fourth race a 2m4f handicap chase when only two finished and five horses all pulled up before the last after doing the right thing instead of continuing with their tired mounts.

Performance day certainly belongs to Snow Leopardess who jumped for fun over the big fences and was the first athlete either human or equine since Carrie Ford to be a mum winning a race over the National course.

Seeing Tiger Roll pulled up at the back in the Many Clouds Chase was a sad sight to see, he may have pulled the rabbit out of the hat over the years but surely now it is time to hang up the hat for the final time, he may yet prove everyone wrong but he deserves to put his hooves up and enjoy the rest of his days away from the racecourse, the crowd down below showed their appreciation in what was a touching moment of love and respect.

Haydock Park, Wednesday 1st December 2021, Jewson Raceday.

The Lion King Regains His Pride

You certainly could feel the love at Haydock this afternoon as the wide-eyed warrior Blaklion became King again and came into the winners enclosure as did the other three placed horses to warm applause and affection from the midweek crowd.

At a time when racing could do with some happy news going into the Christmas month Blaklion showed that the old flame still had some embers burning into the twilight years of his career as he landed the 3m1f Veterans’ Chase by just over a length from Aso on very heavy ground.

Having not won since the Becher Chase in 2017 and had some stable transfers since Darren Yates bought him which didn’t quite work, a bit like Lionel Messi moving to PSG, he jumped around Haydock like a horse falling in love with steeplechasing again, down to 131 this was only his second win in a handicap of the ten races he has won in his career, he will probably head to Sandown in January for the final and he could have a say despite the trip possibly not being ideal for him.

One horse who could be very much in with a chance will be Aso who ran a cracking race to be second, he looks to stay three miles at this level and Sandown in the soft in January will be a match made in heaven.

Blaklion and Harry Skelton

Best Of The Rest

Lucinda Russell has a very good string of horses at her Kinross yard and Readysteadybeau looks like one to keep an eye on as he showed that stamina is his forte when taking the 3m Maiden Hurdle, fouth over 2m4f at Ayr recently he is surely destined for better things after this and could go to Doncaster in January for the River Don or the Potato Race Trial back here in February but he will make a nice chaser next season.

Kiltealy Briggs in the McNeill colours finally won his first steeplechase when landing the 2m5f Novice Chase, only four went to post but it was a tight race on paper and he had a fight towards the end against Mint Condition who kept him honest, the winner should be ok at handicap level.

Kiltealy Briggs and Adrian Heskin

Finally the Donald McCain run keeps on running as A Different Kind made it four from four this season as he readily won the 2m Introductory Hurdle, Already a winner of two bumpers and a novice hurdle all at Sedgefield, He is only a 4yo and in good hands so should offer more in time.

A Different Kind and Brian Hughes

Only a brief summary and provided the opening bit doesn’t lead to any copyright infringements from Sir Tim Rice we shall be off to Haydock on Saturday for the Becher Chase.

Haydock Park, Saturday 20th November 2021, Betfair Chase Day

Blackmore In Haydock Heaven

Rachael Blackmore may be County Tipperary born and bred but it’s very fair to say the good people of the north west have now given her honorary northern status and probably a statue in somewhere like St Helens now following her stellar 2021 which saw become the first female jockey to achieve the ultimate in winning the Grand National and yesterday afternoon on a beautiful autumnal afternoon she added another G1 to her ever expanding CV when landing the G1 Betfair Chase on A Plus Tard at Haydock Park.

In a race which was probably not a vintage renewal of this famous steeplechase A Plus Tard cruised behind the early pace and was happily popping away at his fences when he picked up the lead at the final open ditch from which he and his jockey effortlessly brezzed clear from the rest to come home by a yawning gap of 22 lengths ahead of Royale Pagaille who cut out the early running with Bristol De Mai who was pulled up before the end and couldn’t get his record equaling fourth win.

A Plus Tard certainly looks to have improved a lot since last season, he needs left handed tracks which is why Henry de Bromhead brought him over for this race, he is likely to take in the two big G1 chases over 3m at Leopardstown in December and February before bidding to go one better in the Gold Cup and maybe a visit down the East Lancs to Aintree for tbe Bowl, for jockey Rachael Blackmore this was her first ever ride around Haydock and she gave A Plus Tard a dream ride.

Royale Pagaille loves Haydock and ran with credit, Kempton will be his next port of call for a crack at the King George and he might be a Grand National horse this season, As for Bristol De Mai he couldn’t quite dominate as usual and was wisely pulled up, January’s Peter Marsh back here might be an option but this could be the last time we see him at Haydock.

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Bravemansgame On The Way Up

Paul Nicholls seldom leaves Haydock without a winner and he had good reason to smile on the M6 and M5 yesterday evening as Bravemansgame made it two from two for the season as he put in an exemplary round of jumping in the 2m5f Graduation Chase.

A high quality novice hurdler last season he was third at the Festival behind Bob Olinger who duly obliged over fences at Gowran Park on the same day, Bravemansgame looks an absolute natural over the bigger obstacles and jumped the Haydock fences very well, his trainer has said the Kauto Star Novice at Kempton on Boxing Day will be next for him and he looks like he should stay the three mile trip.

Welsh On Fire

On what was an excellent afternoon for Welsh sport with the rugby team beating Australia in Cardiff, the respective Williams trainers of Evan and Christian both had the long journeys back to Llancarfan and Bridgend with a real spring in their steps.

First off came Dans La Vent under Evan’s daughter Isabel who produced a well timed ride to come through the field to land her biggest career success in the G3 Handicap Hurdle over 3m, on what is always a tough race Isabel brought him through on the run in to overpower Riggs in the kast half furlong, going in off 135 he will definitely get a reaction from the handicapper so a step up to G1 and G2 company will be next you’d imagine.

Christian Williams will be thinking of Chepstow right now as Strictlyadancer waltzed home in the 3m1f Handicap Chase and landing his third win in a row, following on from this Cheltenham win last weekend he is in flying form with the handicapper having not quite got hold of him just yet.

Barrichello Magnifico

The opening Listed Newton Novices’ Hurdle saw an all the way win for the Donald McCain trained Barrichello who went from pillar to post to land a tight looking contest in good style.

After landing a 2m4f Novice event at Bangor last week he was turned out fairly quickly and used his experience to good measure, originally chasing was meant to be the plan with him but now his trainer will certainly have to ponder if fences remains the objective or go to Warwick or Haydock in January for a couple of good Grade 2 Novice Hurdle races.

Haydock really did come alive this afternoon as the crowds poured through the gates even at the early opening time of 10.10am, such is their keenness and devotion to the sport, it’s afternoon’s like this that remind you why you go racing.

The jumps season is very much in full swing now with a huge smorgasbord of top quality racing every weekend right up to the Christmas festivities.

Just like the course people were resplendent in their warm winter clothing which was adorned with the yellow Betfair scarves (other betting exchanges available) as the occasional gust of wind blew the brown leaves down from the parade ring trees and into the path of the racegoers, it was a day of racing that was much needed after all of us were confined to barracks last year.

Next up will be a return to Haydock in around 10 days for a small midweek jumping card, till then take care.

Aintree Races, Saturday 6th November 2021, Grand Sefton Chase Day

The weekend may well have had racing fans focused on Del Mar in California where apparently “The turf meets the surf” but for fans of the winter game especially in the north west it was off to Aintree where “The turf meets the Leeds and Liverpool Canal”

A slight revamp of what is traditionally one of the more quieter racedays at Aintree which included the repositioning of the Grand Sefton from December to November along with a huge influx of students from the big city universities led to a nice feel amongst the old place as the north west jumps season continued to move up a notch.

With that let’s take a look at the best of the action on quite a wet and chilly afternoon in this part of Merseyside which was occasionally met with some strong winds coming in from the East to really test the horses not to mention the racegoers!

Bullseye For The Bowen’s

It wasn’t a case of “Let’s look at what you could have won” for Pembrokeshire based trainer Peter Bowen as Mac Tottie under James Bowen put in a super smashing great performance over the famous big fences to land Saturday’s feature Grand Sefton Chase and to pick up Bully’s Special Prize of £31424 which went to the winning owner.

In a competitive looking event they went a decent clip and plenty held chances crossing the Melling Road by the Anchor Bridge as they reached the business end of the race, Mac Tottie who was towards the main body of the field throughout and popped away at his fences led at the last fence and from there he had the attentions of Senior Citizen as they headed towards the elbow, many times the lead has changed here in the past but he kept his head down and stuck to the task doggedly to land the big prize.

Mac Tottie has a well earned beverage

He has the qualifications for April’s big race and looks likely to come back next month for fhe Becher Chase over 3m2f where he will have to take on some battle hardened stayers but he has form over 3m so will be in the shake up, Senior Citizen ran a solid race in defeat and could reverse the form if he comes back next month also.

Thirteen horses set out and eleven returned home safely with one horse being pulled up and one horse, Spyglass Hill, who decided to unseat Hugh Morgan after the Canal Turn, all came home safely.

Best Of The Rest

Olly Murphy and Aidan Coleman both teamed up to land a double on the afternoon with the classy Brewin’upastorm being one of them who breezed clear from a very good field of hurdlers to land the 2m4f Conditions Hurdle.

Returning back to timber obstacles has clearly shown to be the best choice by Olly Murphy, the trainer has suggested going to France and Ireland with him for the Graded races over this trip which makes good sense as only the Ascot Hurdle and National Spirit would be his best chances for this trip, the Aintree Hurdle in April will be his long term target throughout the season.

Brewin’upastorm and Aidan Coleman

October began with Germany taking the Arc with an 80-1 winner and November saw Irish trainer David Christie land the Pertemps Qualifier with Koshari at the same price, he mixes hurdles and fences but may be hard to place now after this, one horse who ran very eye catchingly was David Pipe’s Remastered in third and he looks set for a good campaign in the big long distance chases.

Finally in the opening constest the green and yellow jacket of the late Trevor Hemmings brought back happy memories of the great man as the Henry Daly trained Hillcrest took the EBF Novice Hurdle Qualifier over 2m4f, he is very much an embryonic chaser and has a nice career ahead of him

Hillcrest

The jumps season is well and truly alive now and the temperature begins to rise as the action gets hotter every weekend from now until the end of the season.

While the sport is currently sailing it’s way through a rocky patch at the moment with various stories that I’m sure you are aware of it’s important to remember that this is why we love the racing, for all that is occurring off the course and in the weighing room it is these wonderful animaks that always get to our hearts first.

Betfair Chase at Haydock in two weeks next, do join us for that.

Aintree Races, Sunday 24th October 2021, Jewson Countryside Day

Allmankind Blooms In Garden

Owner’s The Gredley Family along with Dan and Harry Skelton will be dreaming of the season ahead after their new kid on the block Allmankind showed he certainly has the right stuff of which champions are made of as he joined the roll of honour to win Sunday’s Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase.

On what looked a fair renewal on paper he set out in customary style to make the running and he does seem far more settled in his races after the summer off and apart from one error at the last ditch he jumped impeccably and while he was lumbered with top weight he just had enough at the line to fend off Itchy Feet who was getting 7lbs off him with Midnight Shadow in third spot.

Taking this off 160 he should expect a fair hike from the handicapper which will mean stepping fully into level weights races, it’s highly unlikely sadly that he will go for the King George but at this moment 2m4f looks his best trip, April’s Melling Chase will probably be the main target for him.

Itchy Feet back in second ran his usual race but continues to struggle to win, he may be better going for a Graduation Chase to get his confidence back.

Best Of The Rest

Olly Murphy has a useful sort with Mackelduff who obliged nicely in the Class 2 2m4f handicap hurdle for Aidan Coleman, not sighted since winning at Southwell in May he made light work of his 115 mark to win his first handicap and could be set for a profitable season.

Wishing And Hoping (two words that describe what this sport is about most of the time) took the Veterans Chase nicely on his handicap debut at he gtand old age of 11, running out a ready winner for trainers Mel Rowley who will no doubt have New Year’s dreams of the final at Sandown Park in January and he would have a very live chance like many do in that race.

Lucinda Russell runners in this part of the world always need to be looked at and she has a potentially serious Grand National horse in a couple of seasons time with Corach Rambler who took the 3m1f Nov Hcap Chase quite stylishly under Derek Fox, with just the one start over fences at Perth in September he showed the appreciation for this step back to a staying trip and is definitely one to stick in the trackers for some satellite nationals.

Finally Paul Nicholls has a useful novice on his hands in Gelino Bello, he took the 2m4f Maiden Hurdle in decent style in what looked a good race for its type, he quickened away pretty readily and should pick up plenty more as the season progresses, he could be ideal for the Challow and any race on a more flatter track than an undulating one.

Good to have jumping back with Countryside Day at Aintree, this is always a popular day out although quite a few left early during the afternoon as apparently a few miles down the East Lancs Road a football match was taking place, we won’t talk of the result but to paraphrase Basil Fawlty the more famous team in red got a damn good thrashing!

Back here in two weeks for the Sefton Chase over the big greens, till then its goodbye

Haydock Park, Saturday 25th September 2021, Betway Summer Season Finale

Quite unusual for Haydock we had good to firm ground going into the last Saturday flat meeting of the season which produced some small fields which isn’t quite a shock to be fair and while the card didn’t have any black type races there was a mix of trappy Haydock handicaps and some 2yo races for punters to solve on a warm early autumn afternoon.

Dammej Limitation

Mondammej has had a very busy September with winning here last month when taking the Be Friendly Handicap then after a two week gap in which he was down the field in the Portland he boucned back to form with a real rattle as he just got up to get the better of speedy rival Copper Knight.

Copper Knight as expected on this very fast surface bounced out and the race nearly looked like it was Malton bound for Tim Easterby, however Cam Hardie was getting a real tune out of Mondammej who got past him in the last 50 yards to get the better of him once again.

These two are typical northern sprint handicappers and doubtless both will head to York next month for their valuable 5f handcap, expect them to be battling it out once again.

Mondammej

Golden Nugget For Hannon

After missing most of the summer Nugget picked up where he left off by just landing the 1m handicap under PJ McDonald but its was very close.

In what looked a tight race on paper despite only six runners Nugget whose previous three wins had all been on straight miles got to the front but couldn’t shake off the attentions of third placed Latest Generation and runner up Afaak who very nearly landed the spoils.

Nugget has improved plenty this season most notably when landing the Spring Cup at Newbury back in the spring, taking this off 101 this entire will almost certainly go up in grade although next months Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day will doubtless be a target.

Knight Wins For Knight

Visually the most impressive winner of the afternoon came in the 1m6f handicap as the Sir Mark Prescott trained Summer’s Knight cruised home as he resumed winning ways following his recent effort in the Melrose.

Already a winner of four races this year he found the York race a bit too much but against some very exposed horses he made light work off his 88 rating to land this nicely.

Like many others he will no doubt end up at the sales and the jumping trainers will queueing up like the many idiots who queue up outside Next on Boxing Day to try and grab a bargain for the winter season, he is a horse worth sticking in the trackers.

2yo Races

It was hats off at Haydock and no doubt up at Balmoral Castle the dubonet and gin was poured very quickly as Educator broke his maiden tag at the third time of asking when winning the 1m novice race for juvenile colts and geldings although the line just came up in time for him from the fast finishing debutant Asean Legend.

He holds an entry in the Futurity at Doncaster but that may be a bit much and William Haggas could be better off finishing him for the season and going down the handicap route next season in middle distance races which is where his future most certainly will lie.

In the fillies race for the youngsters we saw an impressive all the way win for Kick On Girl from the George Scott yard who made all to win in what looked a pretty decent contest, she found the step up in trip to 1m no trouble and should make into a good 3yo in 2022.

So another year of flat racing is at an end here, although due to recent events it has been a much shorter one than normal it’s still been great to be back on course after like many being confined to barracks in unsual circumstances.

All being well in October we will be back racing over the sticks and i look forward to you joining me on the journey for that.

Haydock Park, Saturday 4th September 2021, Betfair Sprint Cup Day

Cup Glory For Ryan

It begins briefly in Golborne and crosses over where Sandy Lane ends and Harvey Lane starts but that was probably not to the knowledge of Andrea Atzeni as he picked up his first win and gave trainer Kevin Ryan his second win as Emaraaty Ana landed the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup by the shortest of short heads in pulsating fashion.

Run on ground which for the first time in quite a while on this day was Good to Firm, he used his speed to good effect and had red hot favourite Starman in a bit of trouble as he had to be cajoled along to bridge the gap and while the deficit was being eaten away at very quickly the line came just in time for Emaraaty Ana to land the spoils.

This looked a fair renewal but probably not a top class one, the winner looks set for an autumn trip to the Breeders’ Cup, while Haydock isn’t known as “Where the turf meets the M6”, Del Mar which goes by the saying “Where the turf meets the surf” will be the next stop for Emaraaty Ana on her travels.

Starman lost nothing in defeat and certainly saved the bookies from a big payout on an afternoon where many favourites got turned over, he should probably have his season finale at Ascot on Champions Day where he will take all the beating provided he hasn’t gone over the top by then.

Atzeni On Fire At Haydock

Andrea Atzeni had a fine afternoon on Merseyside and picked up the other two black type races on the day for the thoroughbreds.

In the opening race, the Ascendant Stakes for 2yo he had a lovely win on Triple Time for Kevin Ryan as he won in the manner of a decent horse, only four may have turned up but he took up the running after a furlong of this 1m contest and had the race put to bed fairly easily, keen early on he probably is better going from the front.

Holding a Royal Lodge entry at Newmarket in a few weeks time he will almost certainly be aimed at the 2000 Guineas next spring.

Artistic Rifles was the other winner of the Atzeni treble as the 5yo continued his run of fine form by making all to win the G3 Superior Mile.

In what was probably not a strong looking race for the grade this very likeable horse won very readily for trainer Ed Bethell who trains in North Yorkshire but wasn’t present due to being at a wedding in Ireland but he’d have had a little portable tucked away although hopefully not making a noise when the vicar asked about the objections to the wedding taking place!

Dubai has been touted as to where he could head over the winter and that would be a good call for this horse who seems to like hearing his hooves rattle on the turf.

Arabian Glory For Marquand

Arabian racing made it’s debut at Haydock Park with the Group 3 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Cup over 1m which went to the way of the favourite in Bayan Athbah trained by top arabian trainer Philip Collington under Tom Marquand

Hard to digest the form of this race but they went a decent enough clip as Abiyah Athbah made the early pace and was still in with a shout getting to the business end, the favourite did have a spot of traffic problems but got out and came through in the end and showed her class to win.

A reasonably good afternoon then in what for once was summerlike conditions.

It was certainly an afternoon where the bookmakers were on top with plenty well fancied horses being beaten but as some of the major summer flat festivals like Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood took place on soft and sometimes heavy going it was probably no shock to see things like this happen as plenty horses finally got the going they had been waiting for all season.

Without a doubt the addition of the arabian race was nice to see and who knows maybe in the future more can be added to future race days here and it helped provide a new challenge for those of us who don’t really follow the scene that much but they were very welcome indeed.

Till next time, Goodbye

York Races,Friday 20th August 2021, Ebor Festival, Nunthorpe Day

Winter Strikes In Summer For Easterby

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when the Ebor Festival comes around on the flat at York and for the combination of King Power Racing along with trainer Tim Easterby and jockey Silvestre de Sousa they were celebrating having a merry little summer as Winter Power won Friday’s Nunthorpe Stakes over five furlongs as opposed to 2000 Miles in mightily impressive style.

This lovely looking 3yo filly has already tasted victory twice on the Knavesmire this season and came here off the back of a confidence boosting win in the City Wall Stakes last month after not appearing to handle the Ascot undulations at the Royal meeting, connections now have an automatic invite to take part in the Breeders’ Cup turf sprint at Del Mar in November but it might be a case that despite everyone connected with the horse wishing it could be the Nunthorpe everyday they more than likely will be going to Longchamp in October instead.

Favourite Golden Pal from American trainer Wesley Ward did set out to blast it from the gate but couldn’t keep up the straight line dash as opposed to a turning five furlongs, he’ll be better suited back to a race like that, of the other placed horses, Suesa ran nicely from off the pace but surprisingly has no entrance in the Haydock Sprint next month but Dragon Symbol does and he could be hard to peg back should he turn up.

Stradivarius Wins Epic Lonsdale

For many the best result and most emotional win of the whole festival came in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup as the seven year old warrior Stradivarius under Frankie Dettori found extra reserves to see off the fight from young pretender to the throne Spanish Mission in a battle royale that would have left even the hardest of people in tears of joy.

After avoiding Goodwood due to the heavy going Stradivarius was far happier on the more faster surface here at York and in a race which had a decent pace from the outset both Stradivarius and Spanish Mission were in battle from about two and a half furlongs out as they went by longtime leader The Grand Visir very easily, from then both William Buick and Frankie Dettori chucked everything at their respective mounts, Spanish Mission just led by a head in the last furlong and looked like causing the upset but Stradivarius dug in deep and just got up where it mattered to make it five from five at York.

Stradivarius still showed that the old magic is still evident and the enthusiasm for racing isn’t gone, Ascot in October will be the main target after last year’s French invasion didn’t pay off, wether he takes in the Doncaster Cup is another thing but he may be back up the A1 all being well unless he heads straight to Ascot given their is no other race suited to him apart from the Irish St Leger at the Curragh during Irish Champions Weekend.

The Yorkshire faithful really love this old horse and it showed when he came back in to a heroes reception, Frankie did the flying dismount to the cheers of everyone to really raise the roof

Lusail Gimcrack Glory

Somebody from Al Shaqab racing will be dispatched to York on December 14th for their tea and to give the traditional Gimcrack speech at the 250th Dinner after Lusail won the 2021 running of the Gimcrack Stakes in fine style.

Already a black type winner scoring in the July Stakes at the July Festival this summer he is clearly thriving and looks likely to be heading for one of the big autumn races at Newmarket with the Middle Park possibly being the number one target, his trainer Richard Hannon will be dreaming of Guineas glory during the winter months and should stay a mile in time although maybe the sprinting division might be where his future will lie.

Best of the rest

One of the most eye-catching performances came in the very final race of the afternoon, a very competitive 0-105 rated handicap over a mile that saw Ryan Moore land his only win of the afternoon on the John Gosden trained Rifleman in the Coolmore colours.

Going in here off 95 this gelding holds an entry in next months Cambridgeshire at Newmarket where he will definitely make his presence felt if allowed to take his chance, he wasn’t stopping at the end and showed that big fields hold no fear for him and the extra furlong will pose no problem at all.

A real high quality day of equine action on the Knavesmire then with races that’ll live long in the memory of those who attended.

On the emotional front Stradivarius was the one who stole the show but for the all that came over from America, France, and the big training areas all over the UK you can always be sure that the training fraternity of Yorkshire will so everything in their power to keep a Group 1 from being taken out of the county and with Winter Power they made sure it stayed that way.

Till next time, Goodbye

Haydock Park, Saturday 7th August 2022, Rose Of Lancaster Stakes Day

Fox Power To Lancaster Glory

Just like the 2015-16 Premier League season which saw Leicester City crowned Champions, trainer Andrew Balding continued his assault on the top of trainers title with Foxes Tales topping up the prize money by adding £36648 to the coffers with a hard fought win in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes.

Run on what became heavy ground as were almost all races due to persistent rain showers Foxes Tales has had a steady season winning a maiden at Newbury and a handicap at Royal Ascot, he was one of first off the bridal under Silvestre De Sousa but kept finding for pressure and the 3yo just held on from the strong finishing Fancy Man by three parts of a length.

Foxes Tales is one of those likeable types and has been brought along nicely by his trainer, still with more to offer he could end up Ascot bound in October and given the likely conditions they’ve had over the years on Champions Day where he would have a good chance as any but should stay in training next year as he looks the sort to make a high quality middle distance 4yo.

Fancy Man back in second ran a far better race than he has all season and travelled well before being asked, he looked to stay 1m2f and might even get furthern in time.

Waliyak In Hern Romp

Waliyak took full advantage of the decimated field for the Listed Dick Hern Stakes to easily land the spoils and justify favouritism for the Roger Varian and Jack Mitchell combination.

Rated 98 she was fully entitled to win this race and unlike at Royal Ascot where she was giving weight away to Lola Showgirl, both faced off on levels and Waliyak relished the soft conditions she gained some valuable black type and no doubt the Varian yard will be perusing the race book to seek some more out to add to her eventual paddock value, the Superior Mile here on Sprint Cup day would be a reasonable target unless the cards at York or Goodwood towards the middle and end of August have something more suitable.

This race was depleted with six of the originally declared runners being taken out on account of the ground but take nothing from the winner, she could only beat what turned up and that did include a Royal Ascot winner too.

McCain Flat Raid

Songstress Rihanna might not be short of a few bob but this afternoon if she’d have opened a stall at the back of the Makerfield Stand selling brollies shouting out “By my Umbrella ella ella” as she did in her 2007 hit single “Umbrella” (Many were certainly needed here!) then she could have easily had a few quid on Russco and cheer home the Donald McCain trained horse under her daughter Ella with chants of “Come On Ella,Ella,Ella” who landed one of the 7f handicaps that book ended the card.

Having landed his two previous races over 7f down the M6 at Wolverhampton it’s clear this step up in trip has brought out the best in Russco who landed this off a recent 7lb rise to 70, the handicapper hasn’t quite got to him yet and he’s a nice fun horse for his owners.

This was also Ella McCain’s third win from fifteen rides at Haydock and with some real high quality northern handicaps coming up in August and September hopefully many trainers will use her current 5lb claim.

Elsewhere on the card the popular Middleham Park Owners were heard in fine voice as Cold Stare bounced back to form in the 3yo+ handicap over 7f, what looked a competitive race on paper turned out to be just that as he managed to hold on from the fast finishing Edgewood back in second.

He was winning here on 85 which was 4lbs off his last winning mark of 89 back at Goodwood last year and has won one race each season since his racing career began back in 2017 so now it is time to avoid him until next year unless he defies his current trend and goes in again before the season is done with.

So not the best weather for summer flat racing although Foxes Tales is certainly one to keep on side, Andrew Balding is having a real go at what looks a wide open champion trainers title and wuth the top six past the £2,000,000 mark it should make for a pulsating run upto Champions Day in October

Next up we go on our travels as Nunthorpe Day at York will be the first post lockdown awayday, till then it’s goodbye.

Haydock Park, Saturday 3rd July 2021, Bet365 Lancashire Oaks and Old Newton Cup Day

Rausing Lancashire Success For Alpanista

It might be highly unlikely that Kirsten Rausing celebrated with a plate of Lancashire HotPot added with slices of Bury Black Pudding and then maybe for the odd treat dipping into a quarter of Uncle Joe’s but the Lancashire Red Rose was very much the order of the day for the Sir Mark Prescott trained Alpanista as she finally gained a much deserved Group win in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks under Luke Morris

With two wins at Listed level to her name Alpanista has been very highly tried in the big races but hadn’t quite been able to reach that next level, this afternoon though she did just that and in fairly testing conditions Alpanista had to work for it but her class told as she powered away fairly readily in the end.

Possibilities for her next race will probably be either the Lily Langtree at Goodwood although another crack at the Yorkshire Oaks in August would be the more favoured option for this 4yo filly who will be going into that race with connections very much full of confidence after this win.

Alounak Takes Main Course

Originally on Thursday seventeen horses were declared but due to the overnight rain on Friday night this led to five horses being taken out of the Old Newton Cup which meant just twelve horses took part in Haydock’s oldest and most famous race.

The King Power owners are used to lifting famous cups aloft nowadays and the Old Newton Cup will join that list as Alounak under Silvestre De Souza came home a very nice winner to finally land his first win in England since switching to the Andrew Balding yard last summer, he’s been dropping slowly down the handicap and went in here off 102 so how the handicapper will react now will be very interesting indeed.

He could have a crack at the Ebor which would be of interest for sure if the ground came up soft but maybe visits over the water to France might be better as he could be tricky to place from now on.

Tashkan Very Impressive

Brian Ellison looks to have a very nice staying horse on his hands as Tashkan showed true grit and determination to land a very competitive 1m6f handicap for the 3yo in good style.

Under apprentice Harry Russell whose 5lb claim came in very generously he was kept away from the early exchanges but towards the business end picked his way through and came down the near side rail to easily hold off Summer’s Knight by 1.5 lenghts.

Winning this off 86 will mean he should get into the Melrose if that’s where he ends up and at the moment staying races do appear to be his forte and could even end up in the Cesarewitch if he keeps on improving.

Tashkan

Elsewhere on the card Sir Titus took the concluding 5f handicap for 3yo under an enterprising Graham Lee ride as he ploughed his own furrow over on far side keeping him racing by his own, winning off 79 he isn’t quite ahead of the handicapper but most definitely has another race or two in him.

Finally the old boy Danzeno won a very tight looking 6f Conditions race and despite only three runners being in the field he showed that even at the age of 10 he still has a love of the game, he is entered in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood at the end of the month although he will probably find things that little bit tricker this win will have improved his confidence no end for sure.

Another Oaks and Cup Day has come and gone, as usual the crowd was capped but with restrictions slowly coming to an end this will mean that Rose Of Lancaster Stakes Day next month will see a much bigger crowd of racegoers coming back through the gates, the course has handled things really well since May and hopefully things will start going back to normal.

From your now double vaccinated reporter, Goodbye