The rain gods answered the prayers for those wanting soft ground at Haydock Park as a huge downpour after 11am helped change the ground to Good to Soft,Soft in Places for the first big flat Saturday of the 2016 season
For sports fans the North West was the place to be this weekend with the Great City Games and Manchester 10K,not to mention the international football taking place in the blue half of the city.
Equine fans had plenty of tough handicaps and some pattern contests to get stuck into whilst managing to keep dry at the same time.
1.55 Choice Teachers Handicap,Class 3,1m4f,3yo
Red Verdon followed up his recent Chester win in emphatic style here as George Baker rode a very comfortable win,on the bit with 2f left he came home five lengths ahead from Rainbow Dreamer and was eased over the line
Their looks to be plenty more to come from this winner and made his 88 mark a mockery,he has the look of a pattern horse for Ed Dunlop and is one for the notebook,it’s possible a trip to Royal Ascot is on the cards,Rainbow Dreamer back in second from the Alan King yard stayed on well.
2.30 GPW Recruitment Handicap,Class 2,2m,4yo+ (0-100)
A reasonable staying race here with a couple of jumps trainers looking for a plunder but Tim Easterby and David Allan picked up a nice win here as My Reward jumped out and made all the running to win on his second start since leaving Lambourn for Malton, he came home 1.25 lengths ahead of Moscato from Sir Mark Prescott who ran a game race in defeat with the filly Vive Ma Fille in third who could have been closer had she not been stuck in a pocket up the inside rail
My Reward had only won two 2yo races over 1m before this,he looked to benefit from the step up in trip which Tim Easterby had decided on this season,he could go for the Northumberland Plate or Ascot Stakes and eventually the Cesarewitch in the autumn, Moscato will have plenty jumps trainers salivating should he end up at the Sales towards the end of the season.
3.05 Silver Bowl Stakes (Hcap),Class 2,1m,3yo
Four non runners but a typically competitive running of this famous handicap.
A photo and a stewards were needed before the Highclere mob could celebrate Garcia being given the verdict from Chief Whip in a thrilling crushendo up the Haydock straight.
Both came through to lead in the last furlong and it was a real head bobber,on the head on Garcia did shift left but he had just enough to suggest he would have been the winner on merit,upped 6lbs from a win at Beverley last month he had to fight for this and should head off to Royal Ascot next for the Brittania as could runner up Chief Whip,these two look like decent milers with plenty of scope
3.40 EBF Stallions Cecil Frail Stakes,Listed,6f,3yo+ Fillies and Mares
Not quite in the same league as Dafne Schippers’ race in Manchester on the Friday evening but a good race anyway
Jane’s Memory sprung a 20-1 shock here as she bounced back from a poor run at Chester to beat Ridge Ranger by half a length, she did have some black type already having been placed in a couple of Chantilly events as a 2yo,missing all of 2015 she took this like a fresh horse and could have more to offer providing this was no fluke.
Ridge Ranger gave the winner 4lbs for a recent Nottingham win so in all fairness ran a game race in defeat and this run will only enhance her paddock value,Interception back in third could not keep with the front two but should come on for the run.
4.10 Temple Stakes,Group 2,5f,3yo+
Eleven runners rated between 105 and 120 meant this was a high class renewal.
All eyes were on the mare Mecca’s Angel,last seasons Nunthorpe winner had got the desired soft ground that she prefers.
However she had to suffer the narrowest of defeats by a neck and a stewards by recent Palace House winner Profitable who just got on top to make it 2-2 this season in an enthralling finish,despite giving a slight bump to the runner up right towards the end he looked to have the edge and will no doubt be off to Royal Ascot for the Kings Stand,5f is his trip which showcases his best talent.
Mecca’s Angel lost nothing in defeat but she is ground dependant,It’s possible that Royal Ascot won’t be on the cards but the big Autumn races could be ideal,Waady back in third ran very well on ground which was far from ideal.
4.45 Walsh IBS Handicap,Class 3,6f,4yo+ (0-90)
A competitive sprint handicap which might have unveiled a nice sort in the offing as top weight Mehronissa picked up where she left off last season under Oisin Murphy,despite missing the break she moved from the near side group and moved into the centre and had a nice lead of a length ahead of Shipyard who was the first home of the far side group of seven.
Mehronissa hadn’t been racing since winning over 6f at Newmarket in September,she has a bit more in her,connections will no doubt be after some black type,the Wokingham might be ambitious but something like the Gosforth Park Cup at Newcastle on the AW might be an idea, Shipyard in second is weighted upto his best and 2lbs above his last winning mark.
5.20 Racing UK Now In HD Handicap,Class 3,7f,3yo (0-95)
A competitive race on paper which became an all the way win for Calder Prince from the Tom Dascombe yard as he made all from box 6 under Richard Kingscote to score quite readily,fit from a spell in Dubai which included a third in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial he appreciated the return to handicaps and being allowed to front run, his mark of 94 here looks set to hit three figures now.
Lagenda back in second place ran a game race,he will clearly benefit being moved up to a mile,Young John back in third has a race in him but might be better dropped back to 6f.
Rainbow Dreamer,3yo trained by Alan King ran a fine second in the opener and he should be over hurdles in the autumn
Moscato,5yo trained by Sir Mark Prescott,second in the 2m handicap will have lots of jumps trainers hoping they get him should he be sold
Back at Haydock again next weekend,until then Goodbye