It may have been FA Cup Final day but it was Royal Ascot and summer festival clues the order of the day here at Haydock for the third Saturday meeting here this month.
A top quality seven race card made up of top class Group races and competitive handicaps was on offer here with a mix of young horses on the upgrade and popular older horses for racegoers to enjoy on a pleasant enough afternoon albeit not as warm as it was last weekend but still enough to keep the clouds shut.
1.25 Download New Racing UK iPad App Handicap,Class 4,1m2f,3yo (0-80)
Judge Di Clark was needed here in a race full of improving types.
Paul Hanagan got his first of four winners here on the nicely supported Jumeirah Glory for Richard Fahey as he just hung on from the fast finishing Serene Beauty in the Godolphin Blue.
Taking over from 2f out he was being ridden in the last furlong and the line just came up in time for him as the runner up was really going for it.
This was much better after a couple of poor runs this season,going in off 78 he might offer more,Serene Beauty is still a bit green but she is going the right way and can pick a few races,hopefully the handicapper won’t bump her up to much
2.00 888Sport Pinnacle Stakes,Group 3,1m4f,4yo+ Fillies and Mares
A race with the field rated from 89-110 in what looked a fair renewal for middle distance fillies and mares.
Miss Marjurie followed up her recent win at Goodwood as she just got up to nab victory from Wonderstruck,both were clear of Lady Tiana and Taldama.
Miss Marjurie was registering her fifth career win here on her first trip outside of the southern racing region, Trainer Dennis Oakley will no doubt be thinking about the Lancashire Oaks next July as will Wonderstruck’s trainer William Haggas.
One disappointment came in joint favourite Queen Of Ice who made the early running before getting headed and trailing in last,she is better than this and can be forgiven.
2.35 Timeform App Jury Stakes,Group 3,7f,4yo+
The Lockinge form was given a nice boost here as the 4yo Cable Bay recorded his first win since his maiden 2yo win at Leicester,sitting behind the pace setters he led over a furlong out and kept up to his work by Jamie Spencer to hold off the staying on Ascription and Absolutely So.
Cable Bay has kept good form and deserved his big pay day,the major 7f races shall be his main races during the season although he could also take his chances on the sprinting scene too as he doesn’t look as though he stays a mile.
Ascription is more of a miler,Absolutley So will come on for the run.
3.10 888Sport Achillies Stakes,Listed,5f,3yo+
10yo Kingsgate Native rolled back the years here as he showed the youngsters how to do it by denying the hat trick seeking Out Do by over one and a quarter lengths who in turn hung on from Speed Hawk and Canny Kool.
Listed company looks to suit old Kingsgate Native nowadays,he is the type of horse you like to see win even it means beating your selection,he will be missing Ascot but anything at Listed and Group Three will be his best, Out Do is better over 6f and could go to the Chipchase at Newcastle, Canny Kool was the only 3yo in this and has plenty to offer
3.45 888Sport Sandy Lane Stakes,Group 2,6f,3yo
All eyes were on the unbeaten Limato from Henry Candy’s yard as this upgraded race acted as a stepping stone for the new Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
However Limato found himself in second spot as recent Newbury victor Adaay under Paul Hannagan for William Haggas got the better of him by a length with New Providence and Markaz behind them closely followed by Mattmu in fifth.
Adaay was sent off 6-1 third favourite and had been placed third behind Limato as a 2yo and at Ascot first time out this season, both should head off for their race with the toffs and snobs at Royal Ascot in the Commonwealth Cup
New Providence,the only filly in this race when with huge credit and will have enhanced her paddock value here,despite yet to win this season she runs with purpose, Markaz in fourth could be better in trip, Mattmu in fifth is also consistent and should pick something up this season.
4.20 Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Handicap,Class 4,6f,3yo (0-85)
Don’t Touch made it two from two to give Paul Hannagan his fourth of the day here although it was far from easy.
Tracking the main leaders he came through with his challenge in the last furlong and led with half a furlong to go and he just clung on by a head from Red Tycoon who was finishing his race well, Awjab and Billyoakes came third and fourth.
Plenty to like about Don’t Touch,he had to work for this off his mark of 85, York in a fortnight may be a target but he looks a sprinter who could offer more, Red Tycoon finally got off the mark in an Ayr maiden last month, he has slowly improved this spring, Awjab in third looks like he will be better as a sprinter, this is a race that could throw a few good ones up.
4.55 Walsh IBS Handicap,Class 4,1m,4yo+ (0-80)
A competitive race for the grade but not the classiest.
Local winners are always welcome at there local courses and for trainer John David Riches who trains in Pilling,Lancs, he saddled Gambino under the steerage of Conor Beasley to give Janaab a 2.75 length defeat into second, second favourite Illusive was a length back in joint third with Dark Ocean who both dead heated.
Gambino ran here last month when third over course and distance off the same mark of 69, always a level of consistency Gambino will be a regular in one mile handicaps around the North, he may be aimed at something like either the Carlisle Bell or its consolation race next month.
Janaab looks held at the moment,Dark Ocean has only ever won at Pontefract and Illusive should be winning soon but maybe better upped to 10f.
A top days racing then, Highlight for many has to be Kingsgate Native has he rolled back the years and while Limato lost his unbeaten tag he should make up into a top sprinter.
Next weekend is Derby Day but I shall be at Worcester for some summer jumping action.
Plenty of flat racing to come this summer including a trip to the Anniversary Games in London at the end of July.