Haydock Park,Saturday 25th April 2015,GPW Recruitment Raceday

The flat returned to Haydock on a very damp and slightly chilly day,certainly nothing like the wonderful weather that was bestowed upon Aintree a few weeks ago. 

It was also an emotional day for the sport as AP McCoy departed the stage for the final time,Twenty times champion jumps jockey he is a rider the like of which we will never see again or if we do it will be like Lionel Messi replacing Pele or George Best. 

All that has been said has been said about this amazing sportsmen,everyone has a favourite AP ride,mine for the record is when he rode a horse called Shingle Stree back in October 2006 in a Selling Hurdle, not the classiest race but it was a fine example of his dedication as he rode it with the same determination and will to win that he would in a big race at Cheltenham or Aintree. 

Here though it was a seven race card,some trappy looking races as the flat slowly gets into top gear. 


1.50 Find Staff At GPWRecruitment.com Maiden Stakes,Class 5,1m4f,3yo+

A mixed bag here with horses holding Classic entires,exposed maidens and a few making their flat debuts from the winter game. 

3yo The Lampo Genie made all on his fourth start and hung on by 0.75 lengths from debutant Barefoot Dancer who holds a Derby entry, rated 75 he should pick a few middle distance handicaps during the year, Barefoot Dancer missed the start and was a bit green but he picked up towards the end and should find a maiden soon, back in third was One More Go a 4yo who has kept good form in bumpers and has a fair future on the level. 

This may have been a flat meet but Chorus Of Lies in the Godolphin blue may end up at John Ferguson’s in a few months time. 

2.20 888Sport Handicap,Class2,1m,4yo+ (0-105)

A top notch handicap with plenty having an eye on races like the Royal Hunt Cup later in the season. 

Wilde Inspirstion came on for his recent fifth at Leicester over 7f with a Stoute performance here,a bit slow coming out he responded to pressure and easily went past runner up Capo Rosso in the last furlong, Master Of The World was keeping on into third. 

Favourite Extremity came in last about thirty lengths behind the winner,he can be forgiven for this but is one to treat with a bit of caution at the moment. 

The winner went in off 86 here so could face a fair hike,he could turn up at Chester or York in the next few weeks. 

Wilde Inspiration

 

Looking over at the start

 
2.55 EBF GPWRecruitment.com Maiden Fillies Stakes,Class 5,1m,3yo+

A classy enough win here for Mothers Finest to give trainer Karl Burke a second winner of the day under Silvestre De Sousa,quite keen early she led just over a furlong out and quickened nicely to beat  joint favourites Gold Sands and Sharqeyih by 1 length and 3.25 lengths respectively. 

Mothers Finest holds entries in the Irish 1000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes,she should pick some Black Type up at some point. 

Sharqeyih now qualifies for a handicap mark and could be interesting to see what rating she gets.   

3.30 GPW Recruitment Handicap,Class 2,7f,4yo+ (0-105)

A good quality race although plenty of them had questions to answer. 

One for the bookies here as Emell delivered a 25-1 shock for trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Kieran O’Neill, only his second win from his twenty first start he has kept good form most notably being a runner up in last seasons Celebration Mile, this was his first start over 7f for two years. 

The Victoria Cup at Ascot in a few weeks would be the ideal race unless connections go back up to a Mile.  

Runner up was Professor who much preferred the Haydock air than the heat of Dubai this afternoon,Lincoln and Alejandro back in third and fourth ran good races and should find some more pickings in the summer. 

4.05 Follow GPWRecruitment.com On Twitter Handicap,Class 2,1m,3yo (0-75)

Volunteer Point made up for his recent effort at Windsor when being denied a clear run going in here off the same make of 74,getting up the inside of top weight Spryt in the last furlong he is an improving 3yo and looks like he will get suited by even further,1m2f looks well within reach. 

Spryt having his third start for David O’Meara has been second now on all three of them,maybe some headgear will help him, Resonant was third and looks capable of picking something up. 

4.40 Diane Smith Birthday Handicap,Class 5,1m,4yo+ (0-70)

Karl Burke got the hat trick up as We’ll Shake Hands bounced back from two poor runs with the first time visor and just got up under Ben Curtis to deny Ferdy by a neck,Gambino and Lil Sophella filled the minor honours. 

This was much better from the winner,the equipment seemed to work the oracle today,wether he can follow up is another thing,Ferdy was a very unlucky loser and connections will be hoping the handicapper doesn’t overreact. 

5.25 Send Your CV To Jobs At GWPRecruitment.com Handicap,Class 4,1m2f,4yo+ (0-80)

A nice handicap to finish the day which sent punters home happy as Final Countdown just hung on under Joe Doyle (5) to follow up a recent win at Pontefract,it was a brave move by Doyle to go up the inside and he managed to hold off Ninety Minutes at the very end,the leading pair finished a couple of lengths ahead of Jamhlori and Kinema. 

Final Countdown will end up over hurdles eventually but it pays to strike on the flat and he is a nice horse in good form. 

Ninety Minutes ran his best race on turf for a good while but he remains a better horse on the sand. 
An ok start to the turf flat season,Saturday coming its Doncaster but due to other things the review will be on Monday.  

Until then thank you to you all for reading. 

#ThankYouAP

 


Leigh Miners Rangers v York City Knights,Ladbrokes Challege Cup 5th Round,Sunday 19th April 2015

Guy Fawkes was born in the famous city of York and while his attempt to blow up the Houses Of Parliament didn’t quite go to plan,because of this it’s an event included in the “What Could Go Wrong” section of the Terrorists Instruction Book. 

Today though York City Knights blew apart Leigh Miners Rangers’ dream run in the Challenge Cup with an emphatic and professional display to run away the 44-14 winners on a sunny afternoon in the spring sunshine at the Leigh Sports Village. 

Leigh Miners players approcah the stadium

Leigh Miners as in the last round against Oxford had to play the game at the Leigh Sports Village and after Leigh Centurions win against Saford Red Devils just 24 hours earlier the thought of another Cup double was on. 

 

 

York City Knights though were very much in a slaying mood this afternoon and despite Miners going in very close in the first few minutes it was the visitors who opened up the scoring after a cagey opening when Full Back Ben Dent scored the first try which he duly added the extra points then a few minutes later Nev Morrison collected a catch off the last tackle to go over with Kriss Brining adding a third converted try to make it 18-0 to the visitors within the first twenty minutes. 

After some hard work the Miners were finally rewarded as Harry Gagen got over the whitewash, Scott O’Brien the Miners Scrum Half soon pulled another one back as he grounded under the posts for Jonny Youds to easily convert. 

Any thoughts of a Miners comeback after those two tries were sadly washed away as York responded in the only way possible as Brining got his second try of the game, Jonny Presley then scored just as the half time hooter was about to sound 

HT Leigh Miners 10 York City Knights 30

Miners on the move

After the half time oranges the second half like the first had plenty of open play but it took a while before the point tally began being added. 

Kriss Brining got the matchball as he scored his third converted try of the afternoon, Miners were giving this there all but York were much to strong and Adam Dent soon added another try as they began to easily pull away. 

Miners got another try following some back and forth play which also included a bit of fisticuffs as all the players decided to adopt the Harry Hill method of working out which team was the best! Adam Thomason was the Leigh scorer going in near the corner, York responded as the very highly rated youngster Ed Smith popped a try. 

FT Leigh Miners 14-York City Knights 44

Game kicks off

 

So Leigh Miners dream of Wembley is over for another year after one hell of an adventure, surely no club deserves to be acknowledged other than Leigh Miners in this years competition, it would be a travesty if the RFL didn’t invite them to Wembley and be the big guests of Cup Final Day 

York may have off the field issues,after today I half expect them to be thinking of following on from Swinton and condier using this as their home ground although commuting from York might have problems!

The draw for the sixth round is tomorrow at 6.30,this is when the eight remaining Super League clubs enter the fray. 

Leigh Miners Rangers. 

Youds,Hagen,Hargreaves,Thomason,Probert,Dowie,O’Brien (C),Astley,Jones,Kay,Jackson,Parkinson,Ratcliffe 

Interchanges 

 Doyle,Gray,Grimes,O’Boyle

York City Knights 

Ben Dent,Adam Dent,Minikin,Cunningham,Morrison,Presley,Pat Smith,Applegarth,Brining,Aldous,Ed Smith,Mallinder

Interchanges

Iley,Roche,Aspinall,Pickles

Attendance 1191

A nice afternoon of Rugby League, this Saturday coming it’s the opening of the turf flat season on here with an afternoon at Haydock Park,review should be on Sunday afternoon. 

Leigh Miners’ next home game is back at Twist Lane next Saturday,Wath Brow are the visitors,KO 2.30

Until next week it s a goodbye from me

Horses,Bicycles,Boats and near misses

What a difference 24 hours can be in the world of sport.

Saturday just gone we had the Grand National, it’s the one race that generates the most excitement of the year but also the most controversy.
As I’m sure you all know by now,approaching the Canal Turn for the first occasion,two horses came down,firstly Balthazar King came down and in turn brought down Ballycasey, Ballycasey simply got up and galloped on after his friends as they continued the race, Balthazar King however was down and not looking like getting up.

Richard Johnson the jockey of Balthazar King was still on the deck,then Ruby Walsh who had a more softer fall got up and went straight over to Balthazar King to stay with him as the various medical and veterinary team raced to the turf to do there jobs.
Ruby then for no concern of his own only to ensure the race can carry on quickly helped that the Canal Turn could be bypassed by getting the escape pen removed and standing on the course waving the flag and acting like a human traffic cone as the field came round and safely took the sharp turn and avoiding the screen as the vets worked their magic on Balthazar King.

For me this was no case of Ruby showing off but a concerned horseman and racing person doing his bit for the sport he loves. 


Over the three days at Aintree we lost two horses,Balder Succes and Seedling,both were accidents that could easily have occurred at Ludlow or Carlisle but because it happened at Aintree it came to a more greater prominence.

Now roll on to the following day and two things occurred which are a mixture of silly and downright stupid.

Firstly the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett saying she would consider banning the Grand National, this was said despite her never actually seeing Saturday’s horse race so how she can have an opinion before looking at it is beyond me, secondly her native county Australia has obstacles far worse than over here which are actually more dangerous than ours!

But if she gets her way then what next?
Would all horse racing be banned then?

If you do that then the next step is to ban Point to Point racing,Show Jumping would soon follow,Three Day Eventing,Dressage,Polo,Carriage Driving,Brewery horses and what about horses pulling carriages for people on Blackpool streets and the streets of York too.

After that will the use of Police horses be outlawed,after all sending a horse all fully kitted out in riot gear into a full on riot in a major city or at a football match with rowdy,drunken and abusive fans is far worse surely than a steeplechase?

Think the Police is enough then don’t forget the Household Cavalry and the Mounted Soldiers at Horseguards Parade, the Royal Tournament with the wonderful displays of horses and gun carriages.

Let’s not forget the Queen too, The State Opening of Parliament and all state occasions featuring horses must also be banned,would Natalie Bennett be happy to see the Queen arrested even though she technically can’t be?

I doubt this woman realises that the horse is the original working animal,before the invention of cars,railways and buses it was the horse that transported the post,passengers and goods across country, would she be happy for all horses to be abandoned with no hope or future because of one horse race run in Merseyside?

Anyway to change the subject, the other thing that would have eclipsed all that occurred at Aintree almost happened yesterday in France on the famous Paris-Roubaix Cycle race when at a level crossing during the race a train was approaching and naturally the crossing barriers came down, however they were only the small ones and not full length gates and because of this some of the riders decides to cross anyway, thankfully one of the police motorbike riders came and stopped them from doing it.

What could have happened is unthinkable but it would have knocked what happened at Aintree to the small print as the thought of a train hitting the cyclists full on and live on television around the world would have been one of the worst sporting accidents of all time.

Here is what thankfully didn’t happen due to a policeman using common sense

I could also mention at the Boat Race on Saturday which had eighty people or so being rescued by the RNLI including a child who was separated from his parents as the tides began to rise on the Thames, amazingly this event at the snobby sports days didn’t get as much attention in the media!

So what does all this show?
Well you can interpret it as you so wish, Horse racing did lose two horses who were both loved and treasured by their respective owners plus the trainers and the dedicated stable staff who gave them 24/7 love,care and affection.

Rowing had some selfish idiots being rescued by a public funded rescue service,I just hope they all made a sizeable donation for the volunteers who came to their aid when needed.

Cycling could have had a huge accident and live showing of elite athletes being killed on tv by a train ploughing into them due to crass stupidity and lack of common sense.
Of all these things for me it’s horse racing that’s the winner here for sure.

Aintree Races,Crabbie’s Grand National Fesitval Day Two,Friday 10th April 2015

Day two and it was Ladies Day at Aintree where the Scouse girls go all out as they enjoy there annual trip into the world of National Hunt racing albeit sometimes without seeing an actual horse,jockey or race!

Seven competitive races with a top mix of tricky handcaps,Graded action and the usual excitement of the Topham Trophy which gives the National jockeys a chance to get there eye on over the big greens   

 
 

1.40 Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle,Grade 3,2m4f,11 flights,4yo+
On paper a competitive looking handicap hurdle but it all revolved around one horse at the end,Theinval for trainer Nicky Henderson who has dominated this day over the past few years and Theinval followed up his win in the consolation race for hurdlers at Kempton the day after the festival here although he was being hunted down by The Saint James and Daneking but the line just came in time, an extra furlong and he would have been beat. 

Theinval is happy on flat tracks and should make a fair chaser unless he sticks to timber, The Saint James was thrown in here off 138 and the handicapper may take note of this, Daneking could be better over further than this in time. 

2.15 E-Lites Top Novices’ Hurdle,Grade 2,2m110yds,9 flights,4yo+

A fair race although Qewy was the only one who ran in the Supreme Novices’ to come here. 

Finally the North had good reason to celebrate as Cyrus Darius for Malcom Jefferson and Brian Hughes made it three hurdle wins on the bounce. 

The pace was solid and the field well strung out as they went on their journey and it caused a few to make a few mistakes at their hurdles. 

Cyrus Darius was always travelling well and was skipping over them,travelling to the last he easily had the measure of Vago Collonges and Qewy, he is a huge prospect for next season when he could be sent over fences, 2m will be his trip. 

Favourite Glingerburn ran ok but in reality he is better over further,no doubt Nicky Richards will get a nice 2m4f Novice Chase at Ayr or Carlisle lined up for him. 

Vago Collonges and Qewy both ran well in defeat but they came up against a really good type here 

2.50 Betfred Mildmay Novices’ Chase,Grade 1,3m1f,19 fences,5yo+

A race which was all about one horse, Saphir Du Rheu, he’s had a mixed bag of achievements this season taking an Exeter Novice Chase plus a Cleeve Hurdle, this run was a mix of going for a big prize and sizing up if he’s a potential Gold Cup horse or a World Hurlde type in which he was runner up at this seasons Fesitval. 

Saphire Du Rheu was a bloodless winner here,jumping efficiently he was happy under Sam Twiston Davies to sit up with the pace and took over at the cross fence as he went past Caraig Mor and sailed home by 15 lengths ahead from Caraig Mor who in turn just hung on from Irish Saint. 

Saphire Du Rheu is slowly getting the hang of chases and could be a Gold Cup type,it was only his second win over fences so may start off next season in an Intermediate Chase or possibly the Hennessy to avoid Silviniaco Conti, he is a top horse for next season. 

Carraig Mor is a tough sort but is better with good ground and was much better than when I saw him at Haydock in January, Irish Saint is better over 2m4f and didn’t really stay. 

Wakanada found himself twenty three lengths back in fourth,he has had enough for the season 

   
 

3.25 Betfred Melling Chase,Grade 1,2m4f,16 fences,5yo+

This years race was much better than least year, although made up of top quality horses plenty had questions to answer regarding their form and attitude. 

AP McCoy won what could possibly be his last big race win at Aintree here on the Gordon Elliot trained Don Cossack. 

The race was not without incident,Balder Succes went at the first open ditch and Sire De Grugy went at the first in the straight,after he fell he then decided to explore future options and jumped The Chair then popped over the water 

At the business end and as usual Cue Card took them along and really enjoyed himself,Don Cossack was up with him,so to was Al Ferof. 

Turning for home,AP had to cajole him and led after three out,after this it was a case of ref stop the contest, Cue Card was tired back in second,Johns Spirit was third who in turn was nicely ahead of Champagne Fever. 

This was much easier from Don Cossack after his third in the Ryanair Chase,he met a few on the wrong stride but he’s a clever horse, wether he gets upped to three miles is another thing but with yesterday’s Manifesto winner Clarcam he gives Gordon Eliiot a nice few thoughts over the summer. 

Cue Card needed this race,expect him to be rested until Exeter in November,Johns Spirit ran a good sound race and Champagne Fever just falls short of this class. 

4.05 Crabbie’s Topham Chase (Handicap) Grade 3,2m5f110yds,18 fences,5yo+

Always one of the more eventful races of the season and this years was no exception,thankfully the start went very well with no problems and hopefully the same will happen tomorrow at 4.15pm 

After yesterday’s Fox Hunters which resulted in Sam Waley-Cohen getting booted out at the first fence,compensation was duly awarded as he steered Rajdhani Express to win which also paid a huge complement to Rocky Creek to whom he was seventh to in the Betbright Chase at Kempton back in February. 

Held up early doors,Sam picked a good few off on the run to Bechers, over the Canal Turn we had a few fallers which also hampered a good few that completely lost there chances, thankfully we had no casualties and was nowhere near as bad as what Paddys Return did in 2001!

Coming back onto the course proper Fairy Rath who avoided getting taken out by loose horses at three out was leading but he had Rajdhani Express in his wing mirror, both lead at two out but coming to the elbow Sam Waley-Cohen took over and kept him up to his work to take the prize and ride his sixth win over the course,the most any jockey has ever won over the big greens in a race in which only ten completed 

Rajdhani Express loved the fences and could be a National horse someday. 

Fairy Rath ran a fine race,he was ninth in the Great Yorkshire and Night In Milan was third in that one,he runs tomorrow in the big one. 

 
 

4.40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle,Grade 1,3m110yds,13 flights,4yo+

A useful contest and lots of potential staying starts for the future,despite the defection of Minella Rocco it was a good looking event . 

The bookmakers will have been pleased as was trainer Colin Tizzard who gained some compensation as Thistlecrack on his first go over this trip under Tom Scudamore,held up as Flintham and Parish Business made the most of the running, Thistlecrack turned in with the well fancied Alpha Des Obeaux for company ,although a few were in behind they were never going to challenge the front two and coming to the last Thistlecrack was getting on top as Alpha Des Obeaux like so many this week took a tumble at the last flight of hurdles leaving Thistlecrack in a clear lead. 

He was ahead of Vyta Du Roc ,Our Kaempfer and Blaklion in the minor placings. 

Colin Tizzard was very brave moving him up to three miles,his last run saw him fifth in the Imperial Cup,he could go over fences next season. 

Vyta Du Roc should be much better back at 2m4f and still has plenty of potential. 

  
5.15 Weatherbys Private Banking Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Grade 2,2m1f,4-6yo

You very rarely get multiple bumper winners but the Ben Pauling trained Barters Hill made it four from four under David Bass, making all the running he  saw them all off and found extra when needed,holding off the Willie Mullins trained Bellshill by 1.25 lengths,Potters Corenr who was subject to a little each way gamble after Ruby Walsh took over from Jack Doyle was third. 

Barters Hill enjoys it up front,he could make up into a nice hurdler although it would be tempting to give him a few runs on the flat as he is in such good heart  

Bellshill was tenth in the Festival Bumper but should be better when sent jumping, 

As expected you will have to wait till next season to see how useful this race could be

 
Day two all done, tomorrow is the big one but I won’t be there,instead the comforts of home await

For the big race I’ve been very keen on Al Co but with Clare Balding missing the race to cover the two Boat Races which includes the first ever Womens Boat Race over the same course and distance,could it be ironic that on the same day that happens the sport sees a lady jockey in Nina Carberry become the first female jockey to win th Grand National?

Like many racing fans all I want is for all horses and jockeys to come home safe and sound 

Whatever you back tomorrow Good Luck and enjoy the race



Aintree Races,Crabbie’s Grand National Festival Day One,Thursday 9th April 2015

Day one of the North Wests premier sporting event was baked in beautiful spring sunshine as over 30,000 people poured into Aintree to enjoy a top class days racing on opening day of the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival 

 

While the Grand National meeting on Saturday remains The race of the whole meeting, It is a meeting as usual packed out with top class Graded races,tough handicaps and a good Hunter Chase plus a couple of bumpers. 

Today’s big race was the Aintree Hurdle but for many the Fox Hunters over those big green monsters for the Amateur riders was the main act with the four Grade One races being merely the starter course. 

  



1.40 One Magnificent City Manifesto Novices’ Chase,Grade 1,2m4f,16 fences,5yo+ 

A top front running display by Ruby Walsh on the 5yo Clarcam as he held off the attentions of Vibrato Valtat who both decide to avoid taking on Un De Sceaux on Saturday by treating us to a top start to the meeting. 

Always jumping well he saw out the trip really well and he could be even better suited over three miles in time,he is one to keep on your side next season  

Vibarato Valtat ran a credible race on his first try at the trip and despite Dodging Bullets being the main Paul Nicholls two miler,he will be in the shake up but it’s just possible the big 2m4f events will be his target next season. 

Favourite Josses Hill continues to be let down by his jumping,he has talent so maybe he will have time to reflect on this when he goes off for his summer holidays. 

Below,Clarcam

  

2.15 Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle,Grade 1,2m1f,9 flights,4yo

A fair renewal for the 2014-15 4yo hurdlers, All eyes were on Hargam here, the Triumph Hurdle third was sent off the 8-11 favourite. 

It was however the Fred Winter form that came to the top here as in a three way battle after the last flight up the Aintree straight All Yours under Sam Twiston-Davies just got the edge as he came through on the far side rail to pop Devilment and Bristol De Mai, these three were well clear from Stars Over The Sea in fourth who was running on at the end. 

All Yours was fifth in the Fred Winter and looks likely to get further in time,wether he goes for the top hurdles or chasing is another thing but flatter tracks seem to suit him better  

Devilment for John Ferguson has won over hurdles at Wetherby and Doncaster  and was fourth in the Triumph,he can improve next season and Bristol De Mai will be an even better horse when sent over fences. 

2.50 Betfred Bowl Chase,Grade 1,3m1f,19 fences,5yo+

Cheltenham Gold Cup form was tested here as the fourth,seventh and eighth placed horses all went to post for a nice looking renewal of this last Grade One event of the season for top class staying chasers. 

It turned out to be one of the finished of the season as the top class Silviniaco Conti won his sixth race in the North West and his third at Aintree but he had to do it the hard way as he was chased all the way to the line by Ballynagour who is very lightly raced but was given a patient ride by Tom Scudamore. 

Noel Fehily though has a great relationship with Conti and he fought when he was asked to do so and put in a lovely leap at the second last then at the final fence with Holywell and Ballynagour out after him he found himself under a real battle but the line just came in time for him. 

Siliviniaco Conti was back in his comfort zone today,a flat track over three miles and a bit more, No doubt after his summer break the main targets will be Lancashire Chase,King George and Bowl races. 

Ballynagour was having his second run over further than 2m4f and it won’t be the last,he could have more to offer, Holywell might just be hard to place now but could be National horse in the next couple of seasons or so. 

 

 

3.25 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle,Grade 1,2m4f,11 flights,4yo+

A race which was missing last years winner The New One plus Hurricane Fly and Annie Power didn’t take run having been saved for Punchestown 

Jezki was somewhat a rather fortunate winner here as favourite Arctic Fire gave Ruby Walsh a crashing fall at the last flight when seemingly pulling a cart,he probably would have won and his future lies in the 2m4f area unless he gets sent over fences. 

Coming to the last flight Rock On Ruby and Jezki were flat out while Ruby Walsh on Arctic Fire was cruising on the steel when he did exactly what Annie Power did at Cheltenham and fall at the last,this hampered Rock On Ruby who managed to keep upright but by this time Jezki was away to gift AP a big race win at Aintree. 

Arctic Fire got up safely to a joyous reception from the crowd whole Ruby Walsh missed his last race ride. 

Jezki was landing his seventh Grade One win and after this should go to Punchestown, Rock On Ruby could also go for the big stayers race there. 

  

4.05 Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase,Class 2,2m5f110yds,18 fences,National Course,6yo+

Quite a high quality renewal of this first race over the big greens of the Grand National course. 

Twenty nine went to post and it was not without incident as the previous two winners of the race,Tartan Snow and Warne both went at the first couple of fences along with a few others,more horses went out when in the country but as the field got whittled down it was between two as they emerged from the country. 

After last months Cheltenham win On The Fringe easily did the double under Nina Carberry as he strolled home from Pacha Du Polder,Last Time D’Albain and Major Malarkey,all of who were just playing for places. 

On The Fringe is one of Ireland’s top hunters,it’s possible after having a go at the Punchestown one that he could be trained for the National next season. 

  

4.40 Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase,Grade 3,2m,12 fences,5yo+

A good quality running of this contest that is always run at a strong gallop on this tight two mile chase course. 

Surf And Turf who has been running with regular consistency since his win over course and distance in October albeit without wining finally got his head in front as he caused a 33-1 shock and gave the bookies a bit of respite. 

From the release of the tape the pace was strong, Grand Annual winner Next Sensation was one of a few at the front end as they took no prisoners. 

Coming to the cross fence AP took a crashing fall off Ned Buntline,he got up but chucked his helmet on the floor in disgust, turning for home about seven where in with a shout, Next Sensation began to drop back and come to the last Surf And Turf came through to lead and had enough in hand over Darwins Fox and Pearls Legend. 

After the big trainers had plundered the big prizes it was good to see Kevin Frost who trains just six in Alcester pick up a a nice pot, rated 132 hopefully the  handicapper won’t overreact with him. 

5.15 Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle,Grade 3,3m110yds,13 flights,4yo+ 

Twenty two faced this long distance trip which had plenty in it from last months Pertmeps final. 

Gordon Elliot landed a double on the day with Taglietelle finding the extra distance no problem at all under Paul Carberry in a real pulsating battle as the second favourite just overhauled favourite Call The Cops by a head and just half a length in front of Master Malt and Regal Encore 

Taglietelle is improving a lot, fourth in the Coral Cup behind the exciting Aux Ptit Soins he wik, make a good chaser should he go down that route next term. 

Call The Cops is still a top prospect but with Beat That, another Nicky Henderson staying hurdler who is out for the season, questions will need to be asked such as will one stay over timber while another goes over fences?

Day one all done then, Some amazing racing as ever at this fantastic meeting. 

Tomorrow is “Ladies” Day at Aintree with the feature race being the Melling Chase over 2m4f and the Topham over the National course. 

Until then,thank you for reading and please keep Rat this and spreading the good word. 


Leigh Centurions v Workington Town,Kingstone Press Championship Round 8,Monday 6th April

It’s just short of three hours from Derwent Park to the Leigh Sports Village Stadium and that journey would have felt a lot longer going back on this Easter Monday as Workington were on the receiving end of a real power packed pounding from Leigh who were giving a debut to Gareth Hock on his first start for the club. 

 

 Leigh began the opening half with authority and opened up the scoring in the opening minutes with a try from Sean Penkywicz which was duly converted by Martyn Ridyard who had a 100% strike rate with the boot. 

Town came back and equalised on 10m when Scrum Half Carl Forber got the only try for the way side which he then added the two to make it 6-6

Centurions though we’re not happy about conceding and Penkywicz got his second of the afternoon after Hock came on to replace the injured Fuifui Moimoi to the cheers of the Leigh faithful,Adam Higson got in at the corner but Leigh really should have added a fourth had the not wasted a golden opportunity when Liam Kay with just metres to go found himself the hare to the Workington hounds as they managed to catch up and forcing him to recycle the ball which eventually got turned over. 

HT Leigh 18 Workington 6

   

 

The second half was basically a Leigh masterclass, Ryan Brierley got his ninth try of the campaign which meant that apart from the Halifax game he has scored a try in every match so far this season, Liam Kay then scored an unbelievable try as he chased down a kick from the opposite side of the pitch on the fifth tackle and with pace that even Usain Bolt would have struggled to keep up with he sprinted through to down the ball to the huge roars of the LSV faithful. 

After Sam Barlow had a disallowed try the moment finally came when Gareth Hock began to repay the faith showed in him by everyone at Leigh when going through to score his first Leigh try right in front of the loud and raucous North stand which went wild. 

Michael Platt and Gregg McNally then got in on the act and Ridyard kept up the  completion rate with his conversions but the final of Leigh’s tries then came as Hock got his second of the afternoon with Ridyards boot to make it a six unanswered scores to Workington’s none in the second half. 

FT Leigh 54 Workington 6

This was a perfect nine from nine in the league for the Centurions this season and with an impending Challenge Cup match against Salford coming up next weekend the club is riding on a huge quest of a wave as the assault for Super League Rugby continues. 

It was also a club record of nineteen consecutive wins for Leigh as a Sunday trip to Sheffield Eagles now beckons to go for the big Twenty. 

   

 

Leigh Centurions 

McNally,Higson,Worthington,Platt,Kay,Ridyard,Brierley,Moimoi,Penkywicz,Acton,Dixon,Goulden,Hopkins

Interchanges 

Beswick,Hock,Barlow,Emmitt

Workington Town

Murphy,Forrester,Stack,Whiteley,Carter,Doran,Forber,Walker,Mattinson,Shackley,Brett Phillips,Horton,McAvoy

Interchanges 

Callum Phillips,Duerden,Scholey,Fifita. 

Attendance, 3017

Haydock Park,Saturday 4th April,2015

Easter Saturday at Haydock for a seven race card which included a good collection of valuable and competitive handicaps as the days towards next weeks Grand National meeting just a few miles down the East Lancashire Road slowly begin to get ticked off the calendar. 

It was also Wild West Family Day here with plenty of entertainment down in the family area well away from the people who were just here for the racing, On my arrival to the course I noticed local radio station Wish FM were supplying the music for the day as families turned up although one has to question why playing Men At Works famous “Down Under” track is associated with the Wild West?

Also there was a female singer songwriter on the stage but I left quickly when despite her being dressed for the occasion she began to play Lana Del Ray’s “Video Games” to begin! I doubt anyone briefed that being a Wild West raceday that maybe Johnny Cash or even the overhyped Taylor Swift would have been more fitting. 

Anyway back to the racing and we had seven races on the last day of Haydock’s 2014-15 jumps season so let’s take a look back. 

1.25 888sport.com Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m,13 fences,5yo+ (0-140)

Just Cameron under Joe Colliver (3) racked up a hat trick of wins with a fine performance here, always up with the pace he fought off the attentions of Village Vic who subsequently pulled up after sulking and runner up Ifandbutwhynot whom he gave six lengths the finish with Ubaltique who plugged on for third spot. 

Just Cameron has really taken to fences and could be Ayr bound in a fortnight but 2m looks his best trip at the moment,going in here off 140 he has a bit more to offer,Ifbutandwhynot looks held on 137 but is consistent with his racing. 

2.00 888sport.com Tim Molony Chase,Class 3,3m4f,22 fences,5yo+ (0-130)

A wide open staying constest with plenty having questions to answer. 

It paid to sit off the pace in this marathon which is exactly what Diarmuid O’Reagan (5) did on William Money as he worked his way into the contest and attached himself to the leading four turning for home,he took the lead after three out from favourite Ziga Boy and long time leaders Fourovakind and High Ron from which he began to forge ahead and had plenty in hand from the fast finishing Buachaill Alainn and Fourovakind. 

Wiliiam Money is only an 8yo but very lightly raced for his age making only his eighteenth career start, two starts back he won at Kelso before flopping in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster,hard to know what his next race will be,possibly the Highland National at Perth would be the only option for him. 

Ziga Boy just began to empty after three out and maybe a slight drop back in trip will help. 
 
 

2.35 Connoly’s Red Mills “Precission Nutrition” Series Hamdicap Hurdle Final,Class 2,2m4f,10 flights,4yo+

A top quality field of sixteen went to post for what looked a high quality of this popular series for hurdlers. 

As usual it was a big race Saturday win for Paul Nicholls but only just as top weight Southfield Vic with the steerage of jockey Sean Bowen (5) just got the better of Raktiman under Samantha Drake (5) 

The pace was solid from the outset and turning for home the eventual winner was in 11th and vigourosily ridden along where as the runner up was making progress up the inside as they made the turn. 

Raktiman lead over two out and began to just hold them all at bay despite Sam Drake having a few steering issues but Sean Bowen’s persistence on Southfield Vic was slowly paying off as he cajoled the horse into third after the last flight and began to get the upper hand to just deny Raktiman by 3/4 of a length at the line, the pair were well class of Make Me A Fortune in third and Top Cat Henry in fourth spot. 

6yo Southfield Vic clearly needs further and found 2m4f on the sharp side,his three other wins have been over 2m6f and 3m this season,he could go to Sandown in a few weeks for a 2m6f Listed Hurdle but he will be even better over fences next season. 

Raktiman was an unlucky loser,a model of consistency he never runs a bad race and deserves a nice prize. 

Below,Southfield Vic 

  
3.10 888sport.com Handicap Chase,Class 2,3m,18 fences,5yo+

A bloodless performance here by top weight Virak for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Sean Bowen (5) who by riding this now qualifies him to be able to ride in next weekends Grand National. 

Virak was always going well and sat behind leaders Algernon Pazham and Carrigdhoun as the race progressed. 

After turning for home Algernon Pazham tried to press on as Virak was brought to the stands side rail but it was drama at two out as Algernon Pazham met the fence on the wrong stride and forced Ryan Hatch to do some fine counter balancing to keep on the horse, although Virak was going into the lead this helped him gurantee the race as he just had to be kept up to his work to secure the £19,000 first prize. 

Virak is back on track after a couple of poor efforts in the Kauto Star and Reynoldstown Chases, going in here off 144 he will now be off on his summer break and is an exciting prospect for next season. 

Algernon Pazham put in a much better performance after his recent refusal at Uttoxeter,he has a lot to offer while No Planning ran a good race in third. 

Below,Virak coming to the line 

 
 

3.45 888sport.com Handicap Chase,Class 2,2m6f,18 fences,5yo+

The final of the Jockey Club Grassroots Chase Series,this had a field of fifteen in it but it was a tough race as only five completed the course. 

From the tapes up the field went at a strong gallop as the fences came thick and fast but it paid to sit off the speed which is exactly what Jamie Bargary (7) did as he steered Holow Blue Sky to victory after plenty of cajoling. 

It wasn’t an easy win as he had to fight off the attentions of Silvergrove up the straight and both were leg weary over the last but he had plenty in hand and both were in front of Future Gilded in third and Tenor Nivernais in fourth, the only other finisher was Saints and Sinners who needed a step ladder to climb over the last and he walks over the line in his own time. 

Hollow Blue Sky was third in this last year off 3lb higher,he was fully entitled to take this,this trip suits him so possibly the Sefton at Aintree could be an ideal race next season. 

4.20 888sport.com AP’s Last Ride At Haydock “Fixed Brush” Novices’ Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m4f,10 flights,4-8yo (0-135)

Sadly AP’s last ride was not a winning one at Haydock as he finished seventh of the nine who completed. 

At th business end the race went to Northumberland as trainer James Walton and jockey Jamie Hamilton (7) got Central Flame to follow up his recent win at Carlisle to go in pretty easily under bottom weight,this ex pointer is getting the hang of things now over hurdles and looks ahead of the handicapper so he could be turned out somewhere again before getting reassessed. 

Hello George who has ran credibly in big races such as the Ladbroke and the Lanzarotte was 11 lengths back in second,maybe a step up to 3m will help,Doctor Phoenix came third but looks held on his mark of 135. 

4.55 888sport.com Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 5,2m,4-6yo

A fair bumper at an ok pace although plenty were pulling early doors. 

Red Six trained by Peter Bowen and ridden by son Sean Bowen (5) got his debut off to a winning one here,he set the early fractions and wound it up after previous winner Palermo Don tried to take him on with 7f to go, coming down the straight Red Six had it in the bag and took it by 6 lengths from Vieux Lille in second spot and fellow debutant Wicked Willy in third. 

Red Six is nicely bred and should make into a fair novice hurdler next season,he should get 2m4f and is one to note as is Vieux Lille who will Definitly want a trip over hurdles. 
Some good racing then as we approach Aintree. 

After the sixth race the Haydock directors gave AP a picture of his win in 2010 on Drill Seargant who won a 2m Novice Hurdle after pulling himself up when in a clear lead before overtaking the whole field again and winning in what was a race like no other  

 
Next week is of course Aintree,the first two days will be reviewed so until then Goobye and enjoy your racing.