Warm weather was the order of the day here at this late summer fixture as the North West flat season slowly draws to an end,The first day of this two day meeting was attended by a small crowd but they were entertained by some fair racing,not the best quality but competitive none the less.
Eight races were the order of the day running on the inner track with the main outer course being saved for Saturdays racing.
1.30 The Peter & Olly Hughes Golden Wedding Handicap Stakes (Div1) 1m4f,3yo+(56-70)
This was the lesser of the two divisions here but it went to Mister Fizz from Imogen Pickards stable in Leominster who took this off his rating of 69 under young apprentice Daniel Cremin (7) who made all to beat Four Nations who was having his first start of the season.
2.00 The Peter and Olly Hughes Golden Wedding Handicap Stakes (Div2) 1m4f,3yo+(56-70)
The better of the two races and a convincing performance from Sporting Gold who made it 2/2 this season following his maiden win on the polytrack in January at Lingfield,he had to fight on the run in from Perfect Summer making her handicap debut and she showed a tough attitude to the game and is one to keep an eye on next time should she not go up to high in the weights while Highway Code in third will be going back over jumps no doubt this winter.
As for the winner he still has more to give while the handicapper seems to have gotten hold of Artful Prince now although he could be better back at 1m2f
2.30 The E.B.F. Vale UK Maiden Fillies Stakes,6f 2yo fillies.
A fair looking contest on paper but a bit of a shock result as debutant Dutch S from Clive Cox’s yard made a winning performance here,running on well she just got her head on the line from short priced favourite My Inspiration with Destiny’s Kitten from the Tom Dascombe stable running an eye catching race in third spot.
3.00 The E.B.F. Vale UK Maiden Stakes,6f 2yo colts and geldings.
As in the previous race this was won by another debutant in True Comment under Neil Callan for Newmarket based Ed Walker by 3.5 lengths to Galvanise who showed much improvement from his recent debut race at York and the well fancied Sherston in third with favourite Lacock in fourth.
This was a surprising result as True Comment was very green in the paddock but he learnt quickly what being a racehorse is all about and could be in for a reasonable future.
3.35 The Griffiths and Armour Nursery Handicap,5f 2yo
Deeds Not Words made it three on the bounce here following up wins at Goodwood and Bath in what was a tight finish with the ever consistent maiden Urban Dreamer chasing home in second while Jamboree Girl ran a respectable race in third.
The winner remains in good heart and thrives on his racing while the runner up is keeping a good level of form up but always finds one or two too good in his races.
4.10 The Frank And Tom Fitzgerald Handicap Stakes,1m,3yo+(76-90)
An trappy sort of race with two horses open to Improvement and the rest out of form.
This tight finish went to Ingleby Angel from David O’Meara who overcame a career high rating of 86 who held off Yojimbo by half a length in second place while African Oil was third with favourite Talented Kid fourth.
The winner has a good record at Redcar and could go their for the final of the Straight Mile Series and being in the O’Meara camp could find more improvement next season while Talented Kid will be better suited by 10f but he does stay further having started his career out in bumpers.
4.45 The Vale UK Handicap Stakes,1m6f, 3yo (76-95)
A very competitive looking staying handicap on paper and a very tough and dour run by Big Thunder from Sir Mark Prescott’s was always prominent throughout and took over the lead when they passed the 3f pole and stayed on stoutly to hold off long time leader Deficit by three quarters of a length.
This was much better by Big Thunder who seemed to like the step up in trip and as I mentioned in my August blog from Haydock I really do hope the jumps trainers buy him should he end up at the sales as he thrives on his racing and has a real battling heart in him.
5.20 The Betdaq Haydock Park Apprentice Training Series Handicap Stakes,1m2f,3yo+(56-70)
A real wide open looking event on paper with the young stars of the future showing their skills,before the race I spotted them all doing the mandatory course walk something which a lot of the pro jockeys don’t seem to do any more.
My last knowledge of a jockey whose surname was Walsh winning here was Ruby on Silvinaco Conti in last years Lancashire Chase but it was Eoin Walsh (3) today on Bold Duke trained in Hereford by Edward Bevan who took the nightcap running on well in the last furlong by 1.25 lengths from Rex Whistler.
This was not a strong race but the winning horse followed up a last time out win at Chepstow but for a 5yo he is lightly raced and could get turned out again before he gets reassessed.
Day one all done then of this two day meeting,highlight of the day was the staying contest which had some useful types in it and I can’t wait to see what will happen to Big Thunder.
Tomorrow should be my last day on the turf flat for 2013 with another tricky seven race card comprising a couple of maiden races with tough handicaps.
Until then thank you for reading and I hope all your bets are successful ones!