Haydock Park,Saturday 10th June 2017,Betway John O’Gaunt Stakes Day

One length and a half separated the first five in the eight runner feature Group 3 John O’Gaunt Stakes over 7f on a distinctly non summery June afternoon at Haydock Park but one horse had to get the prize and Absolutely So went one better after last months defeat in the Spring Trophy  in a race where they were spread right across the course, getting the better from Jallota by half a length this ever green 7yo remains in good heart and consistent at this level over 7f which clearly suits him more. 

Absolutley So

French raider Bateel showed her class to land a quality renewal of the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes over 1m4f on her second start for trainer Francis-Henri Graffard, the trainer adopted the “When In Rome” method here so booked Richard Kingscote to do the steering which he did with aplomb as this 5yo mare cruised to victory, her main target will be the Filly and Mare race on Champions Day, Dubka back in second spot was happier on this softer surface too. 

The only success Newmarket had came courtesy of William Haggis who saddled two winners on the card, first up Pennsylvania Dutch came good in the 6f handicap for 3yo as he followed up his maiden win over course and distance back in September, still a bit green he pulled early and had to go around the houses to just get on top of Bellevarde and Fantasy Keeper, he can easily offer more and might be more effective at 7f. 

Haggis’ other win came in a very competitive 1m handicap in which bizarrely the field split into two off the final bend so it resembled a sprint race, in the end Al Shaqab Racing went home with the pot thanks to Pat Cosgrave on Zwayyan as they got the judges’ verdict in s thrilling photo with Ionization, the 4yo only having his second start of the season was clearly at home back at 1m on soft. 

Yorkshire trainers had more profitable journeys back across the M62 during the afternoon, David O’Meara has a real toughie in Reachforthestars who came back to Haydock after a fourth place here last month to land the opening 1m2f handicap for 3yo, up in trip she clearly benefitted from the extra 2f and looks like she will get further and no doubt plans to pick some black type up will be in the plan too. 

Handsome Dude landed a wide open 6f handicap which had a real “Whose Turn Is It Today” look about it and he needed all his strength and guile to just lead at the lollipop, it’s possible that trainer David Barron might target one of the big sprints at Newcastle in a few weeks at the Plate Festival as he won at the track in February. 

Finally Karl Burke looks to have a smart one in Mjjack as he breezed home in the 7f handicap for 3yo, a previous winner on his last run at Doncaster he made light of the 5lb raise from the handicapped who will probably react a bit more off this performance, Sir Reginald Brown back in second  was far better here than his recent York run. 

Next racing on here will be Lancashire Oaks Day in four weeks time, till next time goodbye. 


Abushamah,6yo gelding trained by Ruth Carr was third in the 1m handicap and is showing signs of a revival 

Haydock Park,Saturday 27th May 2017,Armstrong Group Temple Stakes Day. 

Clive Cox and Adam Kirby both had an afternoon to remember at Haydock on Saturday although the won’t want to remember the awful weather that hit the course before racing as the combination collected the two big Group sprint races on a card full of quality.

First up Priceless struck Gold in the days feature race the Group 2 Temple Stakes over 5f as the 4yo filly learnt from her previous run in the Palace House to rout a top quality field of speedsters as she edged out veteran Goldream and Alpha Delphini in a real dash for the cash, All being well connections will head down the Kings Stand,Nunthorpe and Abbaye road from here as 5f is clearly her best. 

Many eyes were on Quiet Reflection too but while last seasons Haydock Sprint Cup winner didn’t show much she will clearly benefit from the race and a step back up to 6f at Royal Ascot will be far more beneficial.  

The second of the Cox winners was the visually impressive Harry Angel in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes over 6f as he strode clear from All Weather Champion Second Thought who acquitted himself very well on his first run on the green stuff since his Salisbury debut last season,expect both to line up in the Commonwealth Cup next month. Harry Angel was landed his second win in pattern company having won last years Mill Reef at Newbury, clearly a very progressive sprinter it would be no shock should he turn up back here in September. 

Mark Johnston also had an afternoon of winners galore at Haydock as he picked up three on the day all in the handicaps which as usual for a Haydock Saturday were very competitive. 

To begin with Yorkidding picked up her first win over a staying trip when just getting the verdict in the opening 2m Handicap in which six were all in line with a furlong to go but Yorkidding edged out Suegioo under Richard Kingscote and the result got confirmed after a quick chic of the photo from the judge, the winner is as game as they come and this 5yo mare will no doubt head up to Newcastle for the Northumberland Plate. 

The same trainer and jockey teamed up half an hour later when Rusumaat appreciated the step back up to a mile when landing a very competitive renewal of the Silver Bowl for 3yo as he bounced out from stall five to bag the inside position and ran the field into submission many of who couldn’t land a blow as Rusumaat simply grinded out the result in typical Mark Johnston fashion, He looks likely to head for the Brittania and he looks like he will also stay further in time

Finally the hat trick came up in the 1m4f Handicap and with a week to go until the Derby, the Lingfield trial two weeks ago received a nice form boost as Sofia’s Rock under last seasons champion flat jockey Jim Crowley put in another bold front running display to thrash a quality looking field, Down the field in 7th at Lingfield the winner did score previously at Leicester over this trip so the return to handicaps did suit and he can continue to improve. 

David Evans got something of a welcome victory with Buying Trouble who rewarded her owners and trainers loyalty many times over as she collected the Cecil Frail Stakes over 6f and picked up some very useful black type for connections, The field were spread right across the track here and this filly had to be at her best this afternoon. 

In the nightcap which was a tough 7f Handicap for 3yo, Roger Charlton got the better over John Gosden here as Silent Echo followed up his maiden win at Lingfield on the sandy stuff to get the judges’ verdict over Chessman who got stuck behind horses and had to come wide and around the field but ultimately was checkmated on the line, Both are quality 3yo in the making and can find more in the summer. 

Aside from the weather we had an enjoyable afternoon on the flat here at Haydock, we shall be back in two weeks time for the Pinnacle and John O’Gaunt Stakes which are always top quality races to watch and note down. 
Till then goodbye.


Stone The Crows,3yo gelding trained by Roger Charlton is a very leggy sort and if he gets sent to the sales then plenty of jump trainers will be fighting over him, runner up in the 1m4f Handicap.  

York Races,Wednesday 17th May 2017,Dante Festival Day 1

The Knavesmire came out of its hibernation into a complete downpour for day one of its popular festival which is loved by racing professionals and fans alike. 

Soft going was the order of the day with and full of Epsom,Chantilly and Royal Ascot clues abound on a top class first day of term back at York. 

Wednesday’s big talking point was all about Shutter Speed who after being given the OK to run by trainer John Gosden in the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora over 1m2f put in a gritty display under the evergreen Frankie Dettori to make it 3/3 and make the transiston to pattern company as she finished ahead of the once raced Vintage Folly, connections have said that the French Oaks would be the more likely target at Chantilly over the same distance but she did give the impression that 1m4f looks achievable too in time. 

One filly who ran poor was the Jim Bolger trained Vociferous Marina who never picked up but given the tough conditions she can be forgiven. 

Shutter Speed

The big sprint race of the afternoon came in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes over 6f, a cracking renewal which included the first three home in the Champion Sprint at Ascot last October but this year was all about Yorkshire born but Newmarket based William Haggas’ Tasleet showed them a clean pair of hooves as he used his speed to put them all under the kosh to run away very impressively, Tasleet only ran twice as a 3yo and he should be on his way to Royal Ascot next for the big 6f Group 1   


Rod Millman trained the seasonal opener a wide open 1m2f handicap as last years John Smiths Cup winner Master Carpenter streaked away in serious style under Phillip Makin, going in off 95 he was much lower than his win last July and a possible idea will be to comeback here to go for a repeat of last year,he loves York so expect this place to be visited a few times in the summer. 

Yorkshire trainers dominated the big 6f handicap with over half the field hailing from the White Rose County and it proved to be so for trainer David O’Meara and Danny Tudhope who rode stable debutant Al Qahwa as he just edged out Muntadab into second place, formerly with Mick Halford he had some reasonable form but the drop into handicap company worked the oracle, landing this off 94 the handicapper will have his say. 

William Haggis picked up another prize on the afternoon, teaming up with Ryan Moore they landed the 3yo 7f handicap with Battered who will certainly have bigger fish to fry this season after a very dominant display, only his second start over this trip he looks much more at home and could even get a mile in time.  

Brocklesby form came to the fore in a reasonably nice looking 5f Novice race for 2yo, top horse Santry who had previously landed Div 1 of the race back in April made it 2/2 but he had to put in the overtime to get the prize for trainer Declan Carroll, hard to envisage where he will go to now, Royal Ascot might be a step too far so maybe the big 2yo race at Beverley would be more achievable. 

Finally in the last race a competitive 1m4f handicap, Zain Arion led them home in a well strung out field over a length and a half clear from Purple Rock, not phased by the conditions this 77 rated 4yo filly as hit top form of late after a poor start to her racing career and for trainer John Butler he will be eyeing some black type very soon for this improving sort. 

Good to see the Knavesmire back in action although the weather was more akin to the winter game than the summer one. 

Next up is Haydock next Saturday for the Group 2 Temple Stakes over 5f, hopefully we will have much better weather too!

Haydock Park,Saturday 13th May 2017,Pertemps Swinton Hurdle & Spring Trophy Stakes Day

The annual yearly convention in the UK when the tweed and flat cap world meet up with the suit and trilby one for the only mixed meeting in the country, Four races over the jumps with four flat ones made for an exciting afternoon with a mix of close up finishes and long stretched out ones too. 

(L-R) Philip Hobbs,Dan Skelton,Paul Nicholls

Feature race of the day was the Grade Three Swinton Hurdle over 2m and Evan Williams continued his top quality record in this race with his third win if five years as John Constable was an absolute picture as he bolted in by fourteen lengths ahead of Optimus Prime who was part of a real heap of finishers for the minor money, Davy Russell gave this horse a peach of a ride, taking this off 134 he is now apparently being aimed at a flat campaign and has a very workable mark of 88 so expect him to turn up somewhere soon, possibly back here in two weeks for a 2m flat race. 

John Constable,2017 Swinton Hurdle winner

On the level this afternoons flat races were held on the inner course, the outer one should be back in use for the Temple Stakes in a fortnight. 

The big flat race or the day was the Spring Trophy, a listed race over 7f and this was just taken by the Richard Hannon trained Oh This Is Us, second two weeks ago over course and distance he just got the edge over Absolutley So by a neck in a thrilling finish, still an entire his connections have him in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot but an obvious target given this horse acts well at Haydock could well be the John O’Gaunt back here in June over the same trip. 

In the other races on this stellar eight race card Mia’s Storm put in a very impressive performance in the opening staying hurdle over 2m7f as she routed a decent quality field by eight lengths, she excelled over this longer trip and will go chasing in the autumn after her summer holiday with connections hoping to pick black type up at some point. 

Mia’s Storm

Monjeni quickly picked up the winning thread after last Sunday’s poor showing at Hamilton,previously a dual scorer at Wolverhampton this Ian Williams trained 4yo is still showing continued improvement since March, he is in the sales at Doncaster but the trainer is hoping any new owner will keep him in Worcestershire, taking this off 73 he is making into a nice flat stayer with no doubt a hurdling career also bound to be on the horizon in Autumn. 

A tight looking 6f Conditions Race went to the judge and eventually Di Clarke gave the verdict to the Bryan Smart trained Mythmaker who got the better over Aeolus by a neck, fit from the all weather he was fifth in the big sprint on All Weather Finals Day and can more than pay his way in the summer, Listed races will be on the agenda next, Aeolus was unlucky in defeat and could be aimed at the Chipchase at Newcastle which he won in 2015, the big disappointment was Waady but will be better back at 5f. 


Saeed Bin Surror has a nice 3yo for Godolphin in Leader’s Legacy who followed up last months Epsom maiden win in style to land the 3yo 1m handicap (0-95), well to the fore he quickened and had easily had the measure of the well fancied The Grape Escape me, This winner looks to have lots more potential and we could see him back here for the Silver Bowl in a couple of weeks time before possibly a crack at the Brittania at Royal Ascot. 

Leader’s Legacy

Champion NH trainer Nicky Henderson saddled a 1-2 in the 2m5f Intermediate Chase, Hammersly Lake under the steerage of defending champ Richard Johnson supplemented his recent win at Huntingdon with an easy stroll home here, jumping well at the back of the pack he made his way through the field and responded to the urging of Johnson, Kilcrea Vale was far better after two poor showings at Cheltenham and Sandown and will be better upped to three miles. 

The final race on the eight race card was a 2m3f Chase in which plenty had questions to answer over their form and jockey Daryl Jacob who has had plenty of big race wins here over the past few seasons picked up a very smooth win on the Ben Case trained Crookstown, back to a handy mark he made a couple of errors but travelled well and always had the measure of the novice Never Up. 


So an enjoyable afternoon of flat and jumps at Haydock, Mixed meetings will always have various opinions but the crowd enjoyed the variety of races and it was a very rare chance for both codes to have a get together. 

Next up on here we go to York on Wednesday for the opening day of the season featuring the big Group races of the day,the Duke Of York Stakes for the sprinters and the Musidora a huge trial for the Oaks, Till then goodbye.  


Optimus Prime,5yo gelding from Dan Skelton was runner up in the Swinton but can do even better when he goes over fences.  

Carigrad,3yo Colt from Hugo Palmer was third in the 1m handicap and can pick up some races as the summer goes on

Thirsk Races,Saturday 6th May 2017,Totepool Thirsk Hunt Cup Day

Down The Straight at Thirsk

In horse racing there is nothing that a local trainer loves more than to pick up a big race at their local course and for Les Eyre he achieved just that at Thirsk yesterday when Cote D’Azur bounced out from his draw out in the car park under Paddy McDonald to pick up the Thirsk Hunt Cup by half a length from the closing pair of Two For Two and Stipulate. 

They went a good clip and the winners main target will be the John Smiths Cup at York in July on that huge Super Saturday for the sport in high summer. 

Cote D’Azur

The other races on the card might not have been up to the quality seen at Newmarket and Goodwood but the crowd were treated to some nice finishes. 

Jockey David Allan rode a treble on the afternoon riding the winners of the final three races. 

Rose Berry was the first one and she ran out a length winner of the 6f Fillies Handicap, she picked up two nurseries last season and is the type to pay her way again during the season. 

The 1m4f Maiden had a field of nine but the first two home came from Newmarket and this was the second of the Allan trip as Globetrotter just held on by a head from the Godolphin charge Key Bid, Globetrotter went for home three furlongs out and looked to appreciate the step up in trip, it will be interesting to see what mark he gets now as will Key Bid who on his second start here ran like a horse who had learnt a lot from his debut at Windsor. 


Excessable brought up the treble in the concluding 5f Handicap for trainer Tim Easterby,taking this prize very comfortably, the trainer is keen on having a crack at the Dash at Epsom on Derby Day but plenty of the big northern sprint handicaps will also be in the pipeline. 

Richard Fahey has his 2yo runners in good order and Guzman scored on debut in the opening 5f Novice Auction Stakes in which the first four home were all covered by a length, he will get 6f easily in time. 


Art Obsession brushed off the opposition in a very competitive 6f Handicap,back from a little break after racing on the tapeta at Newcastle the old warrior deserved a nice prize like this, something like the Great St Wilfrid later in the year could be a plausible target even if it’s just the consolation race. 

Raceday presenter Adele Mulrennan was at her utmost professional after the race as the jockey on board was none other than her husband Paul. 

Finally Savannah’s Dream brought a sigh of relief to her trainer David O’Meara as she broke her maiden tag at the seventh attempt in the 6f Maiden, already a black type filly after getting the runners up spot in the Windsor Castle at 100-1 last year she had continued to always find other horses too good, beating Liquid by half a length she should hopefully kick on with her 3yo campaign. 

Savannah’s Dream

So a big afternoon for trainer Les Eyre as he landed the Thirsk Hunt Cup, next Saturday is something for everyone as we go to Haydock for the Swinton Hurdle on a marathon eight race mixed card. 


Sunrize,3yo Colt was 11 lengths down in the 1m4f Maiden but is now qualified for handicaps  

Danehill Desert,2yo Colt he was fourth in the 2yo race,a bit green but ran on well towards the end and will have learnt plenty. 

Haydock Park Races,Saturday 29th April 2017,Opening Flat Meeting

The opening meeting of the 2017 flat season in the north west and at Haydock Park brought a hat trick up for local trainer Tom Dascombe as himself and stable owner Michael Owner went back home to their Malpas base with huge smiles on their respective faces. 

First up came in the first race when La Celebs Ville finally broker her maiden in tag in the opening 1m handicap (0-70) by half a length from Whitkirk, she had to dig in for this and can pick up some more races in this grade. 

Team Dascombe then came up good in the last two races on the card when Sidewinder made sure his owners The Sidewinder Partnership did sleep tonight as he like the opening race winner broke his maiden tag in the 3yo handicap over 1m (0-75), back on the green stuff today he responded well to Richard Kingscote to get the verdict over Know Your Limit,the step up to a mile suited and he reportedly heads to Chester in a couple of weeks time, The third winner came in the finale when Caponova readily scored in the 1m2f handicap (0-80) to record a fourth course and distance win, going in off 75 he should get upped about 5lbs after this but won like a horse ahead of his mark. 


The afternoons feature race a Class 2 7f handicap saw the £28k or so first prize get taken by Frankie Dettori who paid a flying visit for two rides and bagged this one under Afjaan for trainer William Haggis and owners Al Shaqab Racing as this lightly 5yo scored very readily here, possible targets include the Victoria Cup at Ascot in a fortnight but the one thing against him is that all of his three wins have been on tracks with a turning 7f so one possibility could be to come back here for the Spring Trophy on the same day.  

Josephine Gordon,last seasons champion apprentice jockey got a very nice ride off evergreen 7yo Quixote from David Loughrane’s stable as he bolted up in the Class 2, 1m handicap, going through the gears in the last furlong he was over three lengths ahead from Early Morning,on his last run Quixote got left in the stalls at Southwell and that looked to have been a blessing now as the handicapper dropped him 1lb for that, The Royal Hunt Cup is a potential target and he could well make the cut for it. 


Godolphin unveiled a potential Derby horse in Maghfoor who finally broke his duck on his third start for Saeed Bin Suroor under last seasons champion flat jockey  Jim Crowley  in the 1m4f maiden for 3yo, he easily held off debutant Humble Hero from the Haggis stable by three quarters of a length, wether the Derby entry is an optimistic one we will only know should he go for a trial race, the one at Lingfield could suit this horse a lot better than the Dante off this run. 


Finally Downton Kitten picked up an ordinary looking EBF Fillies Maiden over 1m under the steerage of Tom Queally for David Lanigan, getting the better over the more experienced Beyond Recall she should make into a solid enough filly and will have learnt plenty from this too. 

A welcome return to the flat after being NH focused since October, next Saturday we are off to Yorkshire for the tricky to pronounce Thirsk Hunt Cup meeting. 


Beyond Recall,3yo filly trained by Luca Cumani she was runner up in the 1m fillies’ maiden and is now qualified for handicaps after this run. 

Fawaareq,4yo clue from Owen Burrows, 3rd in the feature 7f race will be much better when upped back trip to a mile

Haydock Park,Saturday 15th April 2017,Challenger Series Finals Day. 

The Easter Bunny pulled out two nice big prizes for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede on a slightly chilly Easter Saturday, far removed from the wonderful weather that Aintree had last week for the finals of the Challenger Series designed to cater for mid tier jumps horses with some pretty decent prize money of £23475 per winner of the six races. 

Their first leg of the double came when Ballybolley hacked up in the 2m4f Middle Distance Chase for the second year in a row,only 4lb higher from last years winning mark of 129 he finished 17l ahead of Captain Redbeard, he jumped very well and no doubt connections will be hoping of more improvement next season in some of the big handicaps, the second leg came in the 2m3f Mares’ Hurdle as Secret Door just about followed up her recent Ludlow won as she had to be all out to land this in a pulsating three drive after the last flight to just fend off Poppy Kay by a neck. 


Secret Door

Alan King got a shock as Willoughby Hedge sprang a 25-1 shock to land the Staying Chase over 3m, only the horses eighth start over fences this 10yo is lightly raced and the first time blinkers clearly worked the oracle as he hung on in another exciting finish to land the prize for owner Trevor Hemmings by a neck. 

The 2m Hurdle prize was a very competitive affair and mixed fortunes for owner JP McManus as his hot favourite Midnight Maestro was pulled up, to be fair the horse did pull early and lost his position after the sixth flight, he can be forgiven and has plenty more to offer, stepping upto the plate though the second string Stamp Your Feet stamped his hooves over the rest as he got on top of Limited Reserve in the last 50 yards to mug him for the money, kept to a mark of 115 after a Hereford win in December he is consistent at this level. 

In the Staying Hurdle over 2m7f trainer Jonjo O’Neill scored with Kelvingrove under Aidan Coleman for his owners The All In One Syndicate whose members include former Cheltenham supreme Edward Gillespie who had to work on him to edge out Young Dillon by a length, he has the look of a dour stayer about him should he go over fences next season. 

Mares had another race added to the series with the 2m6f Mares’ Chase and another close finish in the afternoon as the 9yo Magic Money making her twelfth start of the season had a real slanging match with Still Believing on the run in and Magic Money just found that little bit more needed to edge out the victory by a neck, the mare was following up her recent win at Fontwell, still unexposed over fences connections will eye some black type next season for her. 

Finally the last race of the season came with the annual running of the Tim Molony Chase and here Jonjo O’Neill picked up his second victory of the day with Mustmeetalady under the steerage of Killian Moore (3) as he relished this step up in trip to 3m4f, his first win over fences on his sixth start going in off 124 which is 8lb lower than his hurdles mark, this looks a good type for Satelitte Nationals next season and he came four lengths ahead of Courtown Oscar who is as game as they come in races like this. 

Staying Chasers in action

Another jumps season over with then, in two weeks we return for the opening meeting of the 2017 turf flat back here at Haydock followed by a trip to Yorkshire for the Thirsk Hunt Cup

Many highlights and memories to think about but far too many to mention, It’s now time to look forward for the flat. 

Until then Goodbye