First night meeting of the year for me and this particular Saturday had a plethora of big racing events such as the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket,The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in America and The Heart Of All England Maiden Hunter Chase at Hexham.
For me though it was a seven race card of ok quality,nothing special and a crowd which was small compared to other race meetings here, added to that their was racing at Thirsk and Uttoxeter plus the lunchtime kick off for Doncaster Rovers who got relegated to League One.
5.15 The Polonus Apprentice Handicap,Class 4,1m4f,4yo+,(0-85)
A good race for its type with some potential improvers.
It was a first win on his first ride in the UK for Italian rider Gianluca Sanna (7) who steered the filly Silk Sari to a comfortable success, travelling well she can improve off this and trainer Luca Cumani will be hoping to get some Black Type for her, The Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock could be an idea but more than likely a Listed race to begin with will be the best option.
Of the placed horses Phosphorescence will come on for the run back in third for Lady Cecil and could be better upped to staying trips in time.
5.45 The Bardi Handicap,Class4,1m6f 132 yards,4yo+ (0-85)
The full St Leger distance here for the staying handicappers and a local winner for that loveable rogue Mick Easterby with Itlaaq who came here off the back of a seasonal opener at Musselburgh over Easter to hold off Lion Beacon by 0.75 lengths.
A good ride here from Graham Gibbons,this horse stays and gets further,he will pay his way in the staying handicaps.
Lion Beacon may need his rating dropping a bit,Man Of Plenty in third is another one who will benefit from the run.
6.15 The Ice Fresh Seafood Maiden,Class 5,5f,2yo.
An interesting early season race here with four of them battling it out in the last furlong to make for a grandstand finish.
It was an impressive debut win for the Karl Burke trained Natural Order with Danny Tudhope on the saddle, he looked well in the paddock and was well behaved compared to a few of the others who were very green, It’s possible the big 2yo race at Beverley will be next and then a go in the one of the lesser 2yo races at Royal Ascot, he will get 6f easily.
Richard Hannon had one here in Power Play,he will have learned from this and should follow up soon, Richard Fahey had the runner up Flying Machine and he will learn from this too.
6.45 The Pescafria Handicap,Class 2,7f,3yo,(0-105) (Bobis Race)
The weights were raised 11lb for this with the top weight running off a rating of 91.
An interesting looking race with some potential improving types in it.
Another one for the Easterby clan,this time it was Tim whose horses have been in fine form these past few weeks over flat and jumps, Today it was Azagal,a hard working filly she ran thirteen times last a year as a juvenile winning twice, she came here after finishing ninth of fifteen in the Nell Geyn at Newmarket,this was much easier and her rating of 89 will shoot up after this so she will have to go into pattern company.
Beau Nash was second and could be better over a mile unless connections go back sprinting,Lady Frances was one paced back in third and being a Mark Johnston horse she needs to be able to dictate the pace.
Scrutiny was a sorry last place,he is worth avoiding at the moment and could be a late season type before he begins to improve.
7.15 Arctic Warrior Handicap,Class 3,6f,4yo+ (0-90)
A typical northern sprint handicap here and Right Touch who was upped 1lb after being a runner up at Ripon last month showed the necessary improvement and responded to the urging of David Nolan to get the upper hand in a fighting three way battle from Corporal Maddox and last weeks Leicester winner Mutafaakir.
Right Touch will get another upping here probably upto the early 90s,he could be considered later in the summer for the Great St Wilfred or one of the sprints at Newcastle’s Plate Festival.
Corporal Maddox will be happier back up to 7f on a more undulating course than a flat one, Mutafaakir is a typical Ruth Carr horse who will always give everything in a race and could be aimed later in the season for one of the various Ayr races in September,just depends which type of metal his rating will allow.
Favourite Hoofalong never went when asked to quicken,he is better than this.
7.45 The Samherji Maiden,Class 5,6f,3-4yo.
A moderate maiden which was a shock win for debutant 4yo Run With Pride for trainer Derek Shaw and jockey Dale Swift, a cast off from Sir Michael Stoute he never made the track and this horse who cost 200,000gns as a yearling was picked up much cheaper for £7,500, he did the job professionally so it will be of note to see what the handicapper does.
Naggers was second and now qualifies for handicaps, Kommander Kirkup the 4/7f is a horse who will cost you money rather than win it for you,he has ability in him but could do with a much softer surface maybe.
8.15 Seagold Handicap,Class 5,6f110yds,3yo,(0-75)
An all the way win for the James Given trained Inyourdreams who bagged the rail and stayed there, runner up behind UAE Derby winner Toast Of New York at Wolverhampton back in November, After what he did in Meydaan it was good to see the form being franked here and no doubt this filly will be upped to 7f and try to get some Black Type in time.
Supesta and favourite Jaeger Train filled the minor places
A fair evening of racing then,some competitive racing and nice finishes to enjoy.
Of the runners the two to take note of are Silk Sari who should be a better filly during the season and 2yo Natural Order.
This Saturday it’s a bit of everything at Haydock with the Swinton Hurdle the first big race of the new jumps season and the Spring Trophy on the flat to form one of now only two mixed race days.
Till then thank you for reading.