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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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