One length and a half separated the first five in the eight runner feature Group 3 John O’Gaunt Stakes over 7f on a distinctly non summery June afternoon at Haydock Park but one horse had to get the prize and Absolutely So went one better after last months defeat in the Spring Trophy in a race where they were spread right across the course, getting the better from Jallota by half a length this ever green 7yo remains in good heart and consistent at this level over 7f which clearly suits him more.
French raider Bateel showed her class to land a quality renewal of the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes over 1m4f on her second start for trainer Francis-Henri Graffard, the trainer adopted the “When In Rome” method here so booked Richard Kingscote to do the steering which he did with aplomb as this 5yo mare cruised to victory, her main target will be the Filly and Mare race on Champions Day, Dubka back in second spot was happier on this softer surface too.
The only success Newmarket had came courtesy of William Haggis who saddled two winners on the card, first up Pennsylvania Dutch came good in the 6f handicap for 3yo as he followed up his maiden win over course and distance back in September, still a bit green he pulled early and had to go around the houses to just get on top of Bellevarde and Fantasy Keeper, he can easily offer more and might be more effective at 7f.
Haggis’ other win came in a very competitive 1m handicap in which bizarrely the field split into two off the final bend so it resembled a sprint race, in the end Al Shaqab Racing went home with the pot thanks to Pat Cosgrave on Zwayyan as they got the judges’ verdict in s thrilling photo with Ionization, the 4yo only having his second start of the season was clearly at home back at 1m on soft.
Yorkshire trainers had more profitable journeys back across the M62 during the afternoon, David O’Meara has a real toughie in Reachforthestars who came back to Haydock after a fourth place here last month to land the opening 1m2f handicap for 3yo, up in trip she clearly benefitted from the extra 2f and looks like she will get further and no doubt plans to pick some black type up will be in the plan too.
Handsome Dude landed a wide open 6f handicap which had a real “Whose Turn Is It Today” look about it and he needed all his strength and guile to just lead at the lollipop, it’s possible that trainer David Barron might target one of the big sprints at Newcastle in a few weeks at the Plate Festival as he won at the track in February.
Finally Karl Burke looks to have a smart one in Mjjack as he breezed home in the 7f handicap for 3yo, a previous winner on his last run at Doncaster he made light of the 5lb raise from the handicapped who will probably react a bit more off this performance, Sir Reginald Brown back in second was far better here than his recent York run.
Next racing on here will be Lancashire Oaks Day in four weeks time, till next time goodbye.
Abushamah,6yo gelding trained by Ruth Carr was third in the 1m handicap and is showing signs of a revival