Ashton Town v Eccleshall,NWCL Div 1,Saturday 29th August 2015 

A seven goal extravaganser was played out before the crowd of 51 who turned out on a cool Bank Holiday weekend Saturday in the Lancashire town of Ashton In Makerfield. 

This place may comically known by a few in the area as Ash Vegas but even when John Brownriggs men went in at half time 4-0 to the good,the odds of the away side getting anything after a first half which saw chances of a goal being as remote as the local bus companies in Newcastle and Sunderland getting booked for end of season tours through the city centres. 

But half time speeches can bring about many things and Eccleshall boss Steve Lloyd will feel proud of the comeback but dissapointed of what could have been. 
  
Ashton Town began the first half as a team on a mission and it didn’t take long to open the scoreline when Sean Robinson headed home a corner just six minutes in, Daniel Griffiths then doubled up on 21 minutes when his powerful shot from outside the area made it 2-0. 

Eccleshall tried to hit back but the back four was standing firm with Peter Aidley getting a long range effort tipped over the bar by Town keeper Hoe Clements on 24m and Angelo Errico getting a shot just wide around the half hour mark 

3-0 soon came up on the 42nd minute when Neil Weaver converted the work of Robinson who rounded the keeper and passed a couple of defenders to lay off to Weaver then just two minutes later Griffiths got his second to make it 4-0 before the half time oranges as he gave the ball a mighty whack from 30yds out which flew past the away side keeper. 

 

After the break though a bollocking in the dressing room which must have been something out of the Mike Bassett and Sir Alex book of football management suddenly shook Eccleshall into life. 

HT,Ashton Town 4 Eccleshall 0

Just a minute in on 46m the first wobble in the Town defence began to appear as James Gartside pulled one back for Eccleshall which gave them the key to unlocking the Ashton Town door that kept them at bay in the first forty five. 

Town tired to restore the four goal advantage when Griffiths saw a shot parried a few minutes later

Eccleshall continued to persist and the second goal came on 69 minutes when Ryan Greene put his name on the scoresheet after he followed up the rebound from Clements who tried to punch the ball away. 

The away sides best player by far in the second half Angelo Errico got his just rewards when his shot from outside the box flew past Ashton goalie Sean Dailey on 87m to bring the score to 4-3 and suddenly the great escape began to look just that little bit possible. 

  
That was all it was to be at the end though,with three minutes left plus an extra three for time added on the Ashton Town defence mangled to hold on to collect the three points which looked in the bag at half time,the last minute corner even saw the goalie head up to try and do a Jimmy Glass. 

Ashton Town can count themselves lucky here,a dominant first half seemed an age away in the second half as the away side shot out of the blocks much quicker than Usain Bolt did this week in Beijing. 

Town though have made a solid start to the season and could be in the promotion hunt come April,Eccleshall know how to fight and are capable of better as they showed today. 

  
FT,Ashton Town 4 Ecclehsall 3 
Ashton Town. 

Clements,Bromilow,Worsley,Dailey,Wynne,Munro,Ellis,Coid,Robinson,Weaver,Griffiths. 

Subs, Prescott,Ali,Campbell,Lacey,Cusani. 

Eccleshall. 

McEleny,McKay,Dyer,Mapperson,Adamczyk,Whittaker,Synowicz,Aidley,Gartside,Greene,Errico. 

Subs, Benjamin,Twigg,Brice. 

Att 51. 

York Races,Betfred Ebor Day,Saturday 22nd August 2015

Ebor day on the Knavesmire and a top quality card that brought about the end of four amazing days of racing in this historical city. 

The meeting may be full of Group races of huge quality from 2yo races to stayers but for the faithful who turn up year on year it’s all about Europes richest handicap,The Ebor. 

Seven races and thanks to some help your intrepid writer here was able to enjoy the best seat in the house due to being allocated an owners badge which saved the normal £57 entry, after many years in the game it’s always good to get a little bit back. 

Today also included the Gimcrack Stakes, a race in which the winning owner is invited to give a speech at the annual dinner in December,so £124672 and your tea which makes for one of the most unusual prizes in the sport.  

 

Looking down the straight

 
2.00 Betfred Mobile Strensall Stakes,Group 3,1m1f,3yo+

A good renewal of this race even with five non runners in it. 

Judge Di Clarke was in for a busy afternoon here with plenty of close finishes to keep her on her toes. 

Mondialiste followed up a recent win at Pontefract but he had to work for it as he just got past likely looking winner Mutakayyef in the last half furlong to secure the prize for David O’Meara and Danny Tudhope, Basem and Top Notch Tonto came third and fourth  

Mondialiste is getting his act together now,he looks like he could get 1m2f although he does hold an entry in the Mile on Champions Day,off this race you would be thinking about upping him in trip. 

Mutakayyef kept good company at this level,maybe the Doonside Cup at Ayr would suit him and is set for a good autumn campaign, Basem is a Sandown specialist and ran well while Top Notch Tonto ran well given he needs it soft. 

2.35 Betfred Melrose Stakes (Hcap),Class 2,1m6f,3yo (0-105)

A wide open race even though only five of the eighteen runners had won the trip. 

Not Never was mugged on the line here by Liam Jones on the Mark Johnston trained Polarisation who missed the break and was hard ridden down the long York straight but like so many from this yard he kept working and found extra to just get his head on the lollipop in a tight finish which only a length and a half separated the first five home. 

Polarisation came here after flopping over 1m4f at the Shergar Cup, he has two wins over 1m5f and 1m6f this season and is loving his racing,no doubt he will turn up at Doncaster for something. 

Not Never set a good gallop after a furlong and was very unlucky to go down here,the Mallard at Doncaster would be good compensation for him, Outspoken in third ran a stormer but would need to improve more to be a Leger horse, Botany Bay ran on into fourth and could go over timber at some point. 

Al and Hernandoshideaway ran poor but this looks like a race to follow and see how the form works out. 

 

Polarisation

 
3.10 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes,Group 2,6f,2yo

A good quality race here in which the best Group form came to the table as Ajaya followed up his recent runner up spot in a Group 2 at Maisons-Laffitte to go one better and land this prestigious prize. 

All eyes were on the Wesley Ward trained Finnegan,he set the early speed but was headed in the last two furlongs and soon waved the white flag,Ajaya took over approaching the last furlong and had the race put to bed, Ribchester and Raucous in second and third kept on but the winner had plenty over them. 

Ajaya is clearly getting better and now heads to the Middle Park,bred to make a nice sprinter he will be in the big 3yo sprints next season. 

Ribchester ran a blinder in second,he should easily get a maiden unless Richard Fahey turns him out quick for the Ripon 2yo Trophy next Monday, Raucous ran well in defeat and has plenty good days ahead of him. 

As for Finnegan he will better back in the States. 

3.45 Betfred Ebor (Heritage Hcap) Class 2,1m6f,3yo+

A top quality running of Europes richest handicap produced the story of the flat season as the talented but fragile Litigant who has had more problems than what that Jay-Z claimed in one of his ditties as he ran out a 1.5 length winner from Wicklow Brave. 

Litigant had not been sighted since taking the AW Champs stayers race last year, the 7yo was making his eighth start in all and was given a peach of a ride by Oisin Murphy who sat up with the pace until moving through to lead over 1f, he was chased all the way to the line by Wicklow Brave who went down by 1.5 lengths, Suegioo stayed on into third as did Toe The Line in fourth with the 3yo Fields Of Athenry fading into fifth. 

Litigant along with eight others holds an entry in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day,he should make up into a Group Class stayer next season. 

Wicklow Brave was down the field when last sighted in the Galway Hurdle,he could go for the Cesarewitch before a hurdling campaign,Suegioo will probably be Newmarket bound too. 

Toe The Line could go in mares hurdle races, Fields Of Athenry could still go for the Leger and would be an EW chance at best, Clondaw Warrior and Quick Jack both flopped but can be forgiven. 

4.20 Julia Graves Roses Stakes,Listed,5f,2yo

A real shock to the formbook here as 33-1 outsider Shadow Hunter just got the better of Godolphins Rouleau by a neck in a thrilling finish. 

Shadow Hunter came to this race after a couple of runs without a win but was fourth last time out in a Newbury Listed race, she could go in the Flying Childers and holds a Chevley Park entry so that will test wether this was a fluke or not. 

Rouleau came here after being third in the Molecomb,a step back up to 6f will help, Ornate who regular readers will notice won well at Ripon last time was fourth,he should be capable of better. 

4.55 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Stakes (Hcap) Class 2,1m2f,3yo+ (0-105)

A real top notch race that would be a stand alone big race on any other race day. 

Godolphin got the prize for this but only just in a scintillating finish,Elhaame under James Doyle just edged out Adam Kirby on Roseburg  by a neck, going in off 101 he could go to Doncaster in a few weeks for a 10f Conditions race then no doubt the Dubai Carnival will beckon in the new year. 

Roseburg was an unlucky loser,he was leading with 75yds left but should pick something up as he deserves a nice prize,oddly his three career wins have all been in the north,he could be ideal for the Doonside Cup at Ayr. 

Off Art came third for Tim Easterby,he looks held still by the handicapper,he made up plenty of ground down the straight but is still tricky to place right, Pacify the 5-2f stayed on into fourth and is still unexposed at the moment. 

 

York Parade Ring

 
5.25 Betfred Apprentice Stakes (Hcap) Class 2,5f,3yo (0-105)

Rachel Richardson did what Edgar Prado couldn’t do here by making all on Nigel Tinkler’s Thesme as she jumped out on the far side group and never saw another horse for dust, Favourite Imtiyaaz came second but could not make the ground up,Handsome Due was third. 

Jockey Rachel Richardson has won plenty of praise this season a dose showed why here as she and her filly followed up a recent course win,It’s likely she will be put away now until next season as she is all about speed 

Imtiyaaz,another filly,has been consistent all season,upped 8lb after her recent win looks to still be on the up. 

 

Frankel statue

 
An excellent days racing here on the Knavesmire with shock results and excitement all contained within seven races. 

The Ebor proved to be an excellent race as always and with the big yards all getting scalped by Joe Tuite,a smaller trainer who learnt and worked with people like Jenny Pitman,Charlie Egerton and Mick Channon, this was a day that showed what happens with hard work and persistence   

All being well next weekend will bring the first football coverage of the season, racing wise the Sprint Cup at Haydock will be possibly the last flat of the season here. 

Till then thank you for reading 

Haydock Park,Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Day,Saturday 8th August 2015

Beautiful summer sunshine shone on Haydock Park for a top quality card of flat racing, despite being wedged inbetween Glorious Goodwood and the York Ebor meetings some nice potential future types were on show for a bumper crowd to enjoy.  

Sports wise this was a huge weekend that began with England taking the Ashes plus the first weekend of the new football season so their was something for everybody to enjoy. 

Today’s feature race was the Group Three Rose Of Lancaster with a nice Listed race and some competitive handicaps for the punters to solve or to just relax and enjoy. 

 

Collection of varous trophies

 
1.50 Betfred Duke Of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry Handicap Stakes,Class 3,1m,3yo+ (0-95) (London Mile Series Qualifier)

A competing race but largely one sided at the business end with Early Morning from Harry Dunlop under the steering of Phillip Makin running out a ready winner here off a mark of 89 he was in command with two furlongs to go and only having his seventh career start this 4yo is still unexposed, he could go for the final at Kempton and is worth noting down. 

Runner up was bottom weight Manchestar who stayed on well from the pack,he’s still on a career high mark while Balducci in third always runs well here and could be back here at the September meetings. 

2.20 Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Stakes,Class 2,1m2f,3yo+ (0-105)

A top quality race here full of in form types,exposed types and horses on retrieval missions. 

Rembrandt Van Rijn made it four from four this season under George Baker for trainer David Lanigan, following in from wins at Wolverhampton,Chester and Sandown he is in the form of his life and took this valuable event to win in the style of a good horse, held up early he made his way down the outside of the field and got the lead from The Character in the last half furlong to score by a couple of lengths. 

His winning mark of 96 is going to go into three digits now and has begun to hit top form, he could go to York for the Strensall Stakes in a fortnight but a crack at the Cambridgshire could be ideal given his running style. 

The Character could have a race in him somewhere, The two 3yo in the race Festive Fare and Basateen came fourth and fifth, Festive Fare has winning form on the AW and may do better back on that surface and Basateen was running on towards the end and a step up on trip could suit him.  

2.55 Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes,Group 3,1m2f,3yo+ 

This race all revolved around one horse, Intilaaq from Roger Varian who like his predecessor the late Michael Jarvis always enjoyed having winners at Haydock. 

Intilaaq did what he had to do, a winner of a Newbury maiden in April he was down the field in the 2000 Guineas and looks much better now up in trip, he was kept up to his work and held last months John Smiths Cup winner Master Carpenter by five lengths. 

He holds entries in the top 10-12f races but he looks the type to be even better next season and is bred to stay 1m4f. 

Master Carpenter ran a sound race in defeat as did Fire Fighting who runs almost every other weekend. 

 

Intilaaq

  

Intilaaq wins the Rose Of Lancaster

 
3.25 Betfred TV/EBF Stallions Dick Hern Fillies Stakes,Listed,1m,3yo+ fillies and mares. 

Realtra made a winning debut for trainer Roger Varian to give him a double on the day although she had to work hard for it in what looked a competitive and trappy race on paper. 

Just leading in the last fifty yards she just held on from the staying on 100-1 outsider of the field Wiener Valkyrie who very nearly caused a huge upset, back in third was Crowley’s Law who ran her usual consistent race. 

Realtra was formerly trained by Richard Fahey and Roger Varian looks to have brought her back to her old self and will no doubt try to add to this win before her eventual paddock career. 

Wiener Valkyrie ran a real PB of 75,hopefully the handicapper won’t overreact to this but she does have some valuable black type now. 

Roxy Star came into this race unbeaten,she didn’t break well and was always struggling,she can be forgiven for this but may now end up in the “Expensive to follow” club   

4.00 Betfred ‘Goals Galore Extra’ Levy Board Handicap Stakes,Class 2,1m4f,3yo

Hats off to a Royal winner here as jockey Graham Gibbons donned the famous colours on the Sir Michael Stoute trained Mustard. 

Mustard was stepping up in trip here after being placed over 10f this term and he really did cut the mustard over 12f and relished the step up in distance, in mid div throughout the contest he had to play ketchup to the leaders down the straight but made up the ground and has more to offer over this sort of trip. 

Captain Navarre was half a length down in second,he remains a maiden after eleven races but ran a sound race, Putting Green in third was a bit one paced but stayed on well. 

As for Mustard it’s possible the Melrose could be on the shortlist but he has plenty to offer now at this distance,he is 2/2 at Haydock 

 

Runners coming back in from the 4.00

 
4.35 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap Stakes,Class 4,6f,3yo+ (0-85)

Just a neck separated the first two here as Speedy Move lived up to his name and dug a little more to find out to hold off Nezar, the par were nicely ahead from Secret Asset and Belvoir Diva. 

Speedy Move ran his best race of the season here,winner of a couple of races as a 2yo he is better in the second half of the season as he was last year,Nezar still hasn’t won since two but he is slowly getting their. 

The eyecatcher was Belvoir Diva in fourth,making her fourth start she is still unexposed and should get some nice races soon 

5.05 Betfred ‘Play Your Way’ Handicap Stakes,Class 5,5f,3yo+ (0-70)

Compton Heights followed up last months Ayr win with considerable ease here,despite the possibility of the ‘bounce factor’ he travelled well  and quickened up nicely under Phillip Makin for Keith Dalglish to give bottom horse Ryan Style a 3.25 length beating. 

The winner looks happy at either 5 or 6f,a two time winner at Ayr he would need to go up a lot to make the cut for any of the Ayr metallic cup races but he is in bang on form so could turn up next month providing he picks more raced up. 

Veteran Ryan Style hasn’t won since 2011,he has been running well in defeat though. 
So a nice afternoons racing then. 

Star attraction was without a doubt Intilaaq who looks a class act in the making. 

Next racing review will be the Ebor from York,in the meantime before that it’s possible that the first of our football reviews of the season will be occurring from the North West Counties Leagues. 

Till then thank you for reading.