The best of both worlds came to Haydock today as we wave goodbye to the jumpers and welcome the full return of the flat for next few months.
It was Swinton Hurdle day with a mix of races from 6f to 3m on the flat and over hurdles and fences, seven races with a mix of something for everyone that follows this sport.
Weather wise it began with light rain then brightened up as the day went on.
1.45 Pertemps Network Long Distance Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,3m,12 flights,4yo+
A confidence boosting win for No Planning who signed off for the season in style,a fair novice chaser last season he has struggled over fences and this will have done him the world of good, making all under Sean Quinlan he fought off the challenge thrown down by Tom Scudamore on Alternatif after the last to hold him by a length,both finished ahead of The Govaness and Pearl Swan.
No Planning could well be aimed at the big 3m Fixed Brush here in November on Betfair Chase day as he seems happier over timber than birch.
Alternatif looked to stay 3m and has more to offer next season,The Govaness ran well off top weight and connections will look to gain black type while Pearl Swan ran a PB
2.15 Pertemps Network Handicap,Class 3,1m,3yo (0-95)
Just the five but an eventful contest,Ben Curits on Gerry The Glover did a real over the top ride as he avoided the hustle and bustle up the inside to come round the outer in th last furlong to get the better of Firmament by 1.25 lengths who in turn was a short head in front of Storm Rock, Tadqeeq the 7/4f was back in fourth.
Hard to evaluate this race,Storm Rock who was third had trouble in running up the straight as Tadqeeq kept him boxed in up the rail and could not get out and both had a coming together around 2f out, Tadqeeq was perfectly entity to keep his position though.
Gerry The Glover along with a few in this may be back in a few weeks for the Silver Bowl over the same track and trip.
Tadqeeq is a costly horse to follow,Storm Rock and Firmament should be winning races soon.
2.50 Pertemps Network Conditions Stakes,Class 2,6f,3yo+
Only four in this sprint and it was a case of the first two home tracked the leading two and went past them in the last furlong.
Clear Spring was the one who took the spoils under jockey change Franny Norton,he ran on gamely to win his 10th race on his 38th start,he isn’t up to Group level but always a reliable type,this was his first win in a non handicap.
Runner up Intibah will come on for the run,he won this last year and was fifth in the Champions Sprint at Ascot,should be more to come during the summer but he needs soft, Louis The Pious ran a poor race in last but wait for him in the second half of the season.
3.25 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle,Grade 3,2m,9 flights,4yo+
The first big race of the new jumps season resulted in a bloodless victory for the Philip Hobbs trained War Sound under young Ciaran Gethings (7), always going well he led at the third last flight and ran on gamely finishing 3.25 lengths ahead of race regular Barizan who was coming with a wet sail at the end but couldn’t not get there in time,Song Light,Ballyglasheen and The Plan Man were all involved in the battle for the place money but the winner had plenty in hand when he got first run.
War Sound was having his fifth start over hurdles and only a second in a handicap,The trainer said the Silver Trophy at Chepstow in October will be his next run before a chasing career,this 6yo has plenty more to offer.
Barizan comes alive in this race so that’s him done until next year,Somg Light could well be Market Rasen bound in July,Ballyglasheen looks likely to be stepped up in distance, The Plan Man is only five and Tony Martin will have fun with him,
4.00 Pertemps Network Spring Trophy Stakes,Listed,7f,3yo+
A tight race on the ratings with the six runners rated 90-105.
That Is The Spirit gained a real confidence boost here as he made all under Graham Gibbons to fend off Dusky Queen who did her best to get close but could not get past a very impressive winner.
David O’Meara will have been very happy with this,he struggled after winning his first three on the bounce last season and should do better this season over 6-7f, one obvious race would be the John O’Gaunt here in a few weeks over the same course and distance.
Connections of Dusky Queen will be delighted to have gained some Black Type and they will be after gaining some more, Penitent in third was giving away weight.
4.35 Pertemps Network Intermediate Handicap Chase,Class 2,2m6f,18 fences,5yo+
Big Casino proved to be the joker in the pack and showed his love of Northern England as he made all under Sam Twiston-Davies for father Nigel to gain a second win over fences,his other wins over jumps have been at Carlisle and Cartmel, the retained visor helped a lot.
Top weight Cloud Creeper gave chase to the winner but it’s possible the handicapper may have just got him,he was five lengths behind the winner.
Third spot went to Reynoldstown winner Ainsi Fideles,the trip was to short and he is probably in need of a rest now,only five its a worry if he has peaked already as a chaser,I can see David Pipe possibly getting him ready for one of the October chases at Cheltenham
5.05 Pertemps Network Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m4f,15 fences,5yo+ (0-130)
Glen Countess gave Sean Quinlan and Sue Smith a first and last race double here as the 8yo mare having her first run in 497 days easily cruised home.
As expected Noble Legend tried to make all but after getting headed early doors he dropped the bit and sulked before being pulled up at the end of the back straight, turning for home Glen Countess was already in front and began to turn the screw and there was only one winner,she ended up being seven lengths ahead of Habbie Simpson who plugged on through beaten horses for second.
For the future Glen Countess should be turning up at Doncaster in December for the Mares’ Chase even though that’s a long way off unless any summer options can be found
Some good racing here,Swinton day is always enjoyable and a chance for both codes to mix, pity we don’t have more of them in the year.
Next racing will be the Temple Stakes here in a fortnight, till then Thanks for reading.