Haydock Park,Saturday 20th January 2018,Peter Marsh Chase Day

Racing hearts were well and truly warmed up yesterday on a damp afternoon when Haydock racegoers bore witness to see The New One record a fourth consecutive win in the feature Grade 2 Champion Hurdle Trial.  

Fans of the great game love their horses and for the regulars at this meeting they showed appreciation to arguably one of the most loved hurdlers to grace the Haydock mud in recent times, he never wins this race easily and has to grind out the result but inevitably the job always gets done, making most of his own running he made a few jumping errors which is nothing new here but had to rally on the run into overpower Ch’tibello who travelled ominously well behind him getting a good tow and did lead with a furlong to go but Sam Twiston-Davies made sure that victory would not be denied as he threw everything bar the kitchen sink at his charge to land the two mile contest. 

The Stayers’ is going to be the next race for him at the festival and no doubt followed by a crack at either the Aintree or Liverpool Hurdles in April, whatever happens though he no doubt has the Haydock committee wondering if he deserves a bar and a statue at Haydock as well the race being named after him now. 

The New One

Haydock’s feature steeplechase was the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase over 3m1f and in truly attritional conditions only five of the thirteen starters completed the course with Colin Tizzard saddling a useful type in The Dutchman putting three previous course winners firmly in their place as he readily ran away to pick up the prize, right from the go the pace was solid and The Dutchman shared pace duties with Yala Enki who weakened with a couple to jump but The Dutchman carried on remorselessly eventually finishing 13 lengths ahead from Tommy Whittle winner Captain Redbeard. 

Having only his seventh start over fences The Dutchman boasted some decent form most notably when runner up to Sam Spinner here over hurdles in November, The Eider is mooted as a possible option next month and he is every inch a tough stayer. 

Kim Bailey has a useful prospect on his hands in Full Flow who hacked up by 10 lengths to land the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle, given a good ride by David Bass he led after the fourth last and skipped around the far turn by which time the opposition couldn’t stay with him and he landed this 10 lengths ahead of Midnight Shadow, given the conditions he won’t be going to Cheltenham unless it becomes a monsoon so he this might be his last run of the season although Punchestown might be an outside bet as it always seems to be very soft at that meeting. 

Full Flow

The good run of Donald McCain continues and he saddled a couple of nice winners, first up Testify followed in the hoofprints of horses such as Waiting Patiently and Bristol De Mai to land the Grade 2 Altcar Novice Chase over 2m4f, a bit of gloss was taken off the race when Positively Dylan fell at the second fence which left a match between Testify and Lake View Lad, both kept each other company until the straight then the winner went on at the business end of the race to score by seven lengths, he will be entered in the RSA and JLT but wether he runs beforehand in something like the Scilly Isles or Pendil is another thing. 

Testify

McCain’s second of the day came when Ubaltique took the 2m Handicap Chase for the third year in a row, he looked outpaced up the straight but when the leading horses all fell into a heap he battled on under Will Kennedy to scoop the pot up. 

Joke Dancer again showed his liking for Haydock as he just hung on from the fast finishing Reverant Cust to land the 2m Handicap Hurdle, the ground probably didn’t help and connections will be hoping the handicapper doesn’t overreact to his winning mark of 115. 

Finally Chris Grant who is always shrewd with the horses he sends here picked up a nice prize as Donna’s Diamond who hadn’t been sighted since being fourth here in the 2016 Fixed Brush Hurdle romped away to land the 2m7f Peover Handicap Hurdle by a whopping 37 lengths, always traveling well he jumped nicely and looked the winner when leaving the far turn, it’ll be interesting to see how he fares after this. 

Donna’s Diamond

A testing afternoon then at Haydock and despite the bad weather all week trying to derail this meeting from the horse racing railway line the show did go on and the ground staff deserve plenty of praise for not losing the battle. 

Without a doubt the star of the show was The New One, he is as regular in landing the Champion Hurdle Trial as the UK are when flopping at Eurovison and deserves to run a big race in March when he goes over three miles. 

With the current weather situation it’s hard to know when the next meeting on here will be so I shan’t make any promises, hopefully Wetherby next month for the Towton will be the plan so till next time, Goodbye and enjoy your racing. 

Warwick Races,Saturday 13th January 2018

For once the Frost was made very welcome at Warwick in early January but thankfully not from the nasty white stuff that has cost the midlands venue the occasional meeting including this one over the years but the star jockey of the National Hunt season, Bryony Frost. 

Three big graded chase wins this season for the pride of Devon as she gave Milansbar a dream ride to land the Grade 3 Classic Chase over the marathon trip of 3m5f to follow up her winning rides in the Badger Ales Handicap and Kauto Star Novice Chase early on in the season. 

A beaming Bryony Frost

From the outset Milansbar went to the front of the field sharing pace duties with favourite Missed Approach but Milansbar was readily clear on the turn for home showing no signs of stopping finishing 11 lengths clear of Cogry with Missed Approach another 12 lengths back in third spot. 

Winning owner Robert Bothway and trainer Neil King will no doubt have their eyes on the big prize at Aintree after this but going in off 134 he may need a bit of a hike and help from the handicapper to make the final 40, a trip to Haydock’s Grand National Trial or the Midlands National may be the next races on the list but regarding the National it’s possible that given the way he was ridden then the Scottish one would be better. 

Milansbar

Onto the supporting races and while trainer Nicky Henderson was busy up in Scotland getting married, one would hope he told the vicar to whack the collection on Mr Whipped as he overcame inexperience to bag the Grade 2 Ballymore Leamington Novice Hurdle over 2m5f, given plenty of cover early he travelled well and despite going to the right on the run in he found extra when needed and gave the impression that he will stay further plus showing he can fight when faced with the running on Paisley Park who finished an honourable second. 
Ms Parfois picked up some more black type as she took the Listed Hampton Novice Chase over 3m putting in an exemplary round of jumping and giving a five length beating to favourite Duel At Dawn in the process, following up a recent Newbury win last time out this mare is going the right way over fences and connections will be eyeing up the big staying handicaps next season. 

Ms Parfois

Malcolm Jefferson had a huge day to remember with a big cross the card double, the Warwick leg came from the vastly improving Black Ivory under Jamie Hamilton to bag a decent looking Pertemps Qualifier over 3m1f, tackling this long trip for only the second time he clearly is a stayer on the upgrade but will need to go up in the weights to make the cut at Cheltenham as he went in off 126, he had a bit of a battle on his hooves with Sykes who had the lead over the last flight but battled on to overpower him on the run in.   

Black Ivory


Big Jim rolled back the years to win the 2m Edward Courage Cup again, the 2016 victor never saw another rival as he made all and had enough in hand to hold off the staying on Imjoeking, he had only had three races since his 2016 win here and having only his tenth race over fences Big Jim might still have more to offer. 

Classic Chase day began with a wide open albeit poor looking 2m Novice Handicap Hurdle in which the field were well stretched out like the Sunday washing down the back straight and quite a few had chances turning for home but in the end Vado Forte having his second handicap start duly obliged, handicaps will be his limit but he can hopefully go on from this. 

Finally the traditional finale was the Bumper for unraced horses over 2m (essentially a Wood Ditton for jumpers) and the most one sided finish of the whole day as Thebannerkingrebel made all under the slowly fading light to bolt up by 12 lengths for the Jamie Snowden yard, hard to know what to make but he could no more than he did and should make into a nice jumper, wether he goes to the big festival bumpers is one thing but he will give the owners in the Jamie Snowden Racing Club many happy dreams during the summer months. 

All in all it has to be said that it was a top afternoon at Warwick and the crowd who turned out were treated to some very good racing and no doubt Bryony Frost will have made everyone’s day wether they backed her or not. 

The quality of ladies riding over jumps is getting better and better, horse racing is one of the few equal unisex sports for its competitors and long may it last. 

Also their was a real buzz about the place too, full of racegoers who wanted to see good racing and a great advert for seeing top horses at courses that don’t normally have a huge portfolio of big jumps races like Cheltenham,Sandown,Aintree and Ascot. 

The programme had a message from the general manager Andre Klein who said that the Classic Chase is often an under appreciated race which indeed he is right about but for many it’s a good staying test of a horse on a unique track like Warwick. 

The forecast for the upcoming week means it’s in the air wether or not your intrepid reporter will be at Haydock for Peter Marsh Day on Saturday so until next time, Goodbye.