Haydock Park,Saturday 27th May 2017,Armstrong Group Temple Stakes Day. 

Clive Cox and Adam Kirby both had an afternoon to remember at Haydock on Saturday although the won’t want to remember the awful weather that hit the course before racing as the combination collected the two big Group sprint races on a card full of quality.

First up Priceless struck Gold in the days feature race the Group 2 Temple Stakes over 5f as the 4yo filly learnt from her previous run in the Palace House to rout a top quality field of speedsters as she edged out veteran Goldream and Alpha Delphini in a real dash for the cash, All being well connections will head down the Kings Stand,Nunthorpe and Abbaye road from here as 5f is clearly her best. 

Many eyes were on Quiet Reflection too but while last seasons Haydock Sprint Cup winner didn’t show much she will clearly benefit from the race and a step back up to 6f at Royal Ascot will be far more beneficial.  

The second of the Cox winners was the visually impressive Harry Angel in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes over 6f as he strode clear from All Weather Champion Second Thought who acquitted himself very well on his first run on the green stuff since his Salisbury debut last season,expect both to line up in the Commonwealth Cup next month. Harry Angel was landed his second win in pattern company having won last years Mill Reef at Newbury, clearly a very progressive sprinter it would be no shock should he turn up back here in September. 

Mark Johnston also had an afternoon of winners galore at Haydock as he picked up three on the day all in the handicaps which as usual for a Haydock Saturday were very competitive. 

To begin with Yorkidding picked up her first win over a staying trip when just getting the verdict in the opening 2m Handicap in which six were all in line with a furlong to go but Yorkidding edged out Suegioo under Richard Kingscote and the result got confirmed after a quick chic of the photo from the judge, the winner is as game as they come and this 5yo mare will no doubt head up to Newcastle for the Northumberland Plate. 

The same trainer and jockey teamed up half an hour later when Rusumaat appreciated the step back up to a mile when landing a very competitive renewal of the Silver Bowl for 3yo as he bounced out from stall five to bag the inside position and ran the field into submission many of who couldn’t land a blow as Rusumaat simply grinded out the result in typical Mark Johnston fashion, He looks likely to head for the Brittania and he looks like he will also stay further in time

Finally the hat trick came up in the 1m4f Handicap and with a week to go until the Derby, the Lingfield trial two weeks ago received a nice form boost as Sofia’s Rock under last seasons champion flat jockey Jim Crowley put in another bold front running display to thrash a quality looking field, Down the field in 7th at Lingfield the winner did score previously at Leicester over this trip so the return to handicaps did suit and he can continue to improve. 

David Evans got something of a welcome victory with Buying Trouble who rewarded her owners and trainers loyalty many times over as she collected the Cecil Frail Stakes over 6f and picked up some very useful black type for connections, The field were spread right across the track here and this filly had to be at her best this afternoon. 

In the nightcap which was a tough 7f Handicap for 3yo, Roger Charlton got the better over John Gosden here as Silent Echo followed up his maiden win at Lingfield on the sandy stuff to get the judges’ verdict over Chessman who got stuck behind horses and had to come wide and around the field but ultimately was checkmated on the line, Both are quality 3yo in the making and can find more in the summer. 

Aside from the weather we had an enjoyable afternoon on the flat here at Haydock, we shall be back in two weeks time for the Pinnacle and John O’Gaunt Stakes which are always top quality races to watch and note down. 
Till then goodbye.

 
Wattspots

Stone The Crows,3yo gelding trained by Roger Charlton is a very leggy sort and if he gets sent to the sales then plenty of jump trainers will be fighting over him, runner up in the 1m4f Handicap.  

York Races,Wednesday 17th May 2017,Dante Festival Day 1

The Knavesmire came out of its hibernation into a complete downpour for day one of its popular festival which is loved by racing professionals and fans alike. 

Soft going was the order of the day with and full of Epsom,Chantilly and Royal Ascot clues abound on a top class first day of term back at York. 


Wednesday’s big talking point was all about Shutter Speed who after being given the OK to run by trainer John Gosden in the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora over 1m2f put in a gritty display under the evergreen Frankie Dettori to make it 3/3 and make the transiston to pattern company as she finished ahead of the once raced Vintage Folly, connections have said that the French Oaks would be the more likely target at Chantilly over the same distance but she did give the impression that 1m4f looks achievable too in time. 

One filly who ran poor was the Jim Bolger trained Vociferous Marina who never picked up but given the tough conditions she can be forgiven. 

Shutter Speed


The big sprint race of the afternoon came in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes over 6f, a cracking renewal which included the first three home in the Champion Sprint at Ascot last October but this year was all about Yorkshire born but Newmarket based William Haggas’ Tasleet showed them a clean pair of hooves as he used his speed to put them all under the kosh to run away very impressively, Tasleet only ran twice as a 3yo and he should be on his way to Royal Ascot next for the big 6f Group 1   

Tasleet


Rod Millman trained the seasonal opener a wide open 1m2f handicap as last years John Smiths Cup winner Master Carpenter streaked away in serious style under Phillip Makin, going in off 95 he was much lower than his win last July and a possible idea will be to comeback here to go for a repeat of last year,he loves York so expect this place to be visited a few times in the summer. 

Yorkshire trainers dominated the big 6f handicap with over half the field hailing from the White Rose County and it proved to be so for trainer David O’Meara and Danny Tudhope who rode stable debutant Al Qahwa as he just edged out Muntadab into second place, formerly with Mick Halford he had some reasonable form but the drop into handicap company worked the oracle, landing this off 94 the handicapper will have his say. 

William Haggis picked up another prize on the afternoon, teaming up with Ryan Moore they landed the 3yo 7f handicap with Battered who will certainly have bigger fish to fry this season after a very dominant display, only his second start over this trip he looks much more at home and could even get a mile in time.  

Brocklesby form came to the fore in a reasonably nice looking 5f Novice race for 2yo, top horse Santry who had previously landed Div 1 of the race back in April made it 2/2 but he had to put in the overtime to get the prize for trainer Declan Carroll, hard to envisage where he will go to now, Royal Ascot might be a step too far so maybe the big 2yo race at Beverley would be more achievable. 

Finally in the last race a competitive 1m4f handicap, Zain Arion led them home in a well strung out field over a length and a half clear from Purple Rock, not phased by the conditions this 77 rated 4yo filly as hit top form of late after a poor start to her racing career and for trainer John Butler he will be eyeing some black type very soon for this improving sort. 

Good to see the Knavesmire back in action although the weather was more akin to the winter game than the summer one. 

Next up is Haydock next Saturday for the Group 2 Temple Stakes over 5f, hopefully we will have much better weather too!

Haydock Park,Saturday 13th May 2017,Pertemps Swinton Hurdle & Spring Trophy Stakes Day

The annual yearly convention in the UK when the tweed and flat cap world meet up with the suit and trilby one for the only mixed meeting in the country, Four races over the jumps with four flat ones made for an exciting afternoon with a mix of close up finishes and long stretched out ones too. 

(L-R) Philip Hobbs,Dan Skelton,Paul Nicholls


Feature race of the day was the Grade Three Swinton Hurdle over 2m and Evan Williams continued his top quality record in this race with his third win if five years as John Constable was an absolute picture as he bolted in by fourteen lengths ahead of Optimus Prime who was part of a real heap of finishers for the minor money, Davy Russell gave this horse a peach of a ride, taking this off 134 he is now apparently being aimed at a flat campaign and has a very workable mark of 88 so expect him to turn up somewhere soon, possibly back here in two weeks for a 2m flat race. 

John Constable,2017 Swinton Hurdle winner

On the level this afternoons flat races were held on the inner course, the outer one should be back in use for the Temple Stakes in a fortnight. 

The big flat race or the day was the Spring Trophy, a listed race over 7f and this was just taken by the Richard Hannon trained Oh This Is Us, second two weeks ago over course and distance he just got the edge over Absolutley So by a neck in a thrilling finish, still an entire his connections have him in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot but an obvious target given this horse acts well at Haydock could well be the John O’Gaunt back here in June over the same trip. 

In the other races on this stellar eight race card Mia’s Storm put in a very impressive performance in the opening staying hurdle over 2m7f as she routed a decent quality field by eight lengths, she excelled over this longer trip and will go chasing in the autumn after her summer holiday with connections hoping to pick black type up at some point. 

Mia’s Storm


Monjeni quickly picked up the winning thread after last Sunday’s poor showing at Hamilton,previously a dual scorer at Wolverhampton this Ian Williams trained 4yo is still showing continued improvement since March, he is in the sales at Doncaster but the trainer is hoping any new owner will keep him in Worcestershire, taking this off 73 he is making into a nice flat stayer with no doubt a hurdling career also bound to be on the horizon in Autumn. 

A tight looking 6f Conditions Race went to the judge and eventually Di Clarke gave the verdict to the Bryan Smart trained Mythmaker who got the better over Aeolus by a neck, fit from the all weather he was fifth in the big sprint on All Weather Finals Day and can more than pay his way in the summer, Listed races will be on the agenda next, Aeolus was unlucky in defeat and could be aimed at the Chipchase at Newcastle which he won in 2015, the big disappointment was Waady but will be better back at 5f. 

Mythmaker


Saeed Bin Surror has a nice 3yo for Godolphin in Leader’s Legacy who followed up last months Epsom maiden win in style to land the 3yo 1m handicap (0-95), well to the fore he quickened and had easily had the measure of the well fancied The Grape Escape me, This winner looks to have lots more potential and we could see him back here for the Silver Bowl in a couple of weeks time before possibly a crack at the Brittania at Royal Ascot. 

Leader’s Legacy


Champion NH trainer Nicky Henderson saddled a 1-2 in the 2m5f Intermediate Chase, Hammersly Lake under the steerage of defending champ Richard Johnson supplemented his recent win at Huntingdon with an easy stroll home here, jumping well at the back of the pack he made his way through the field and responded to the urging of Johnson, Kilcrea Vale was far better after two poor showings at Cheltenham and Sandown and will be better upped to three miles. 

The final race on the eight race card was a 2m3f Chase in which plenty had questions to answer over their form and jockey Daryl Jacob who has had plenty of big race wins here over the past few seasons picked up a very smooth win on the Ben Case trained Crookstown, back to a handy mark he made a couple of errors but travelled well and always had the measure of the novice Never Up. 

Crookstown


So an enjoyable afternoon of flat and jumps at Haydock, Mixed meetings will always have various opinions but the crowd enjoyed the variety of races and it was a very rare chance for both codes to have a get together. 

Next up on here we go to York on Wednesday for the opening day of the season featuring the big Group races of the day,the Duke Of York Stakes for the sprinters and the Musidora a huge trial for the Oaks, Till then goodbye.  

Wattspots

Optimus Prime,5yo gelding from Dan Skelton was runner up in the Swinton but can do even better when he goes over fences.  

Carigrad,3yo Colt from Hugo Palmer was third in the 1m handicap and can pick up some races as the summer goes on

Thirsk Races,Saturday 6th May 2017,Totepool Thirsk Hunt Cup Day

Down The Straight at Thirsk


In horse racing there is nothing that a local trainer loves more than to pick up a big race at their local course and for Les Eyre he achieved just that at Thirsk yesterday when Cote D’Azur bounced out from his draw out in the car park under Paddy McDonald to pick up the Thirsk Hunt Cup by half a length from the closing pair of Two For Two and Stipulate. 

They went a good clip and the winners main target will be the John Smiths Cup at York in July on that huge Super Saturday for the sport in high summer. 

Cote D’Azur


The other races on the card might not have been up to the quality seen at Newmarket and Goodwood but the crowd were treated to some nice finishes. 

Jockey David Allan rode a treble on the afternoon riding the winners of the final three races. 

Rose Berry was the first one and she ran out a length winner of the 6f Fillies Handicap, she picked up two nurseries last season and is the type to pay her way again during the season. 

The 1m4f Maiden had a field of nine but the first two home came from Newmarket and this was the second of the Allan trip as Globetrotter just held on by a head from the Godolphin charge Key Bid, Globetrotter went for home three furlongs out and looked to appreciate the step up in trip, it will be interesting to see what mark he gets now as will Key Bid who on his second start here ran like a horse who had learnt a lot from his debut at Windsor. 

Globetrotter


Excessable brought up the treble in the concluding 5f Handicap for trainer Tim Easterby,taking this prize very comfortably, the trainer is keen on having a crack at the Dash at Epsom on Derby Day but plenty of the big northern sprint handicaps will also be in the pipeline. 

Richard Fahey has his 2yo runners in good order and Guzman scored on debut in the opening 5f Novice Auction Stakes in which the first four home were all covered by a length, he will get 6f easily in time. 

Guzman


Art Obsession brushed off the opposition in a very competitive 6f Handicap,back from a little break after racing on the tapeta at Newcastle the old warrior deserved a nice prize like this, something like the Great St Wilfrid later in the year could be a plausible target even if it’s just the consolation race. 

Raceday presenter Adele Mulrennan was at her utmost professional after the race as the jockey on board was none other than her husband Paul. 

Finally Savannah’s Dream brought a sigh of relief to her trainer David O’Meara as she broke her maiden tag at the seventh attempt in the 6f Maiden, already a black type filly after getting the runners up spot in the Windsor Castle at 100-1 last year she had continued to always find other horses too good, beating Liquid by half a length she should hopefully kick on with her 3yo campaign. 

Savannah’s Dream


So a big afternoon for trainer Les Eyre as he landed the Thirsk Hunt Cup, next Saturday is something for everyone as we go to Haydock for the Swinton Hurdle on a marathon eight race mixed card. 

Wattspots

Sunrize,3yo Colt was 11 lengths down in the 1m4f Maiden but is now qualified for handicaps  

Danehill Desert,2yo Colt he was fourth in the 2yo race,a bit green but ran on well towards the end and will have learnt plenty.