Haydock Park,Saturday 29th September 2018, Smarkets Real Ale Day-Summer Finale

In the last throws of the Great British Summer the bands were playing of both brass on the entrance and the oompah one which wandered the various enclosures to accompany the real ales from the local area and across the country as the final Saturday of Haydock’s flat season drew to a near close. 

While many enjoyed a good pint from breweries such as the Manchester based JW Lees and Joseph Holt whilst enjoying the Bavarian stylings of classics such as “Sweet Caroline” and “Don’t Stop Moving” which sounded somewhat slightly different than the original versions, the ones who came for the racing were treated to a decent backend card and despite no Group races on the day it was more an afternoon to kick back with the pressure off. 

Trainer John Gosden may well be getting his French phrasebook out for ParisLongchamp this upcoming weekend but on a busy Saturday he still found time to bag a couple of Haydock winners, both of which were very impressive. 

First up was the 2yo Novice Stakes for Fillies over 1m with Sparkle Roll who clearly learnt plenty from her first run over course and distance last time out as she romped away with this contest under Nicky Mackay, a half sister to last years shock Derby winner Wings Of Eagles she will hopefully make into an even better filly at 3 when upped in trip next season, she finished over three lengths ahead of the main market leader Chartered. 

Sparkle Roll

The second Gosden winner came in the 1m6f handicap as the 3yo Surya who was raised 8lb after landing a similar event back here in July when England were in the World Cup Quarter Final, the winner put in another good shift as he grounded out another win off 92 to continue his upward curve easily holding Dominating by a couple of lengths, still on the upgrade as a stayer he has an entry in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day which might result in taking on his more well known stable mate Stradivarius should he turn up for his seasonal swansong but Surya has quietly crept up in the staying division and should do even better at 4. 

Surya

Clive Cox gained a bit of compensation after Harry Angel got swamped up in the Haydock Sprint Cup mud last time out as Dark Power got the verdict from judge Fraser Perratt who needed the ruler and magnifying glass to sort out the finish of the 6f handicap with both Dark Power and Lord Oberon separated by a neck and at the same time being on opposite sides of the course, recently Dark Power was 8th in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon but needs ground with some juice in it, a possible target could be one of the big Autumn sprints around York or Doncaster as the season draws to its conclusion. 

The form of the Great St Wilfrid received another boost half an hour earlier as Dakota Gold showed he is far better at 5f than 6 as he went from gate to wire like a dragster to land the feature 5f handicap under Connor Beasley, he beat some useful yardsticks in this race and looks likely to be kept to this trip in future with his gun-ho style of bursting out as quick as you like and trying to last home. 

Finally the most visually impressive winner of the day came in the 2yo Novice event over 1m for the boys with the Ed Walker trained Cap Francais who had to concede 6lbs to nine of his rivals but routed a fair looking bunch of competitors in some style, this Frankel colt is one to keep in the notebooks and trackers for the moment, connections have suggested the Listed Silver Tankard at Pontefract in a few weeks which would be a more manageable target than the Futurity at Doncaster but should neither be contested than a winter thinking over what could potentially happen next season will be the order of the day. 

So another flat season draws to a close, from Wetherby at the beginning of May to Haydock at the end of September it has been a decent adventure. 

Main highlight was without a doubt seeing Roaring Lion and Kew Gardens at York last month, it’s seeing horses of that quality that makes this sport so special. 

All being well in October the jumping will step up a gear with many visits to some lovely courses from the top level to the gaff tracks, Bring it on!

Till next time, Goodbye. 

Haydock Park,32 Red Sprint Cup Day,Saturday 8th September 2018

That old saying of “If at first you don’t succeed,try and try again” proved to be more than accurate in the case of much loved sprinter The Tin Man has he felled a top quality field which certainly weren’t trees in the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup to give trainer James Fanshawe his second win in the big race and jockey Oisin Murphy his first win in what has been a season the young man will never want to end given the amount of big race wins he has been on this year. 

Ran on ground so heavy and with rain that made it the day more akin to the winter season than the summer one The Tin Man ploughed through the Haydock mud and left last years victor Harry Angel in his wake and the line just came in time from the fast finishing duo of Brando and Gustav Klimt who were bearing down on him at the line to scoop up the pot. 

Normally a lot better at Ascot, The Tin Man who has been third and second in this race over the years finally got his reward and now all roads will lead to Berkshire on October 20th to try and land the Champions Sprint for a second time and off this he will take all the beating. 

The Tin Man

For many the big disappointment was Harry Angel who led early but approaching the last furlong a mix of the ground and petrol tank became to slowly empty and came home back in sixth place, he was a bit fractious in the stalls again as happened at Royal Ascot, he will no doubt have another go on the big Ascot race but should he show another poor showing then it’s possible that retirement may be on the cards so not to damage his stallion fee. 

Brando ran a solid race back in second and is a solid yardstick while Aidan O’Brien will be pleased no doubt with Gustav Kilmt showing a good run back in third and he might be worth a pop at the Foret at ParisLongchamp at the Arc meeting at 7f but for now the Haydock Sprint is still one of the few Group Ones that has yet to be claimed by the supreme of Ballydoyle. 

In the solid supporting races the Superior Mile formed part of a double for the Andrew Balding yard, Andrew was up in the North East as he was taking part in the Great North Run over the slightly longer trip of 13 and a bit miles but for his wife Anna Lisa she was no doubt wishing she had got the train up to Wigan then jumped on the 320 bus service to St Helens as she and trainer Richard Hannon were caught up in a nasty accident before racing as the plane that brought them in skidded on landing which resulted in hitting another plane and damaging its wing but thankfully everyone got out safely. 

The first winner came with that old stalwart Here Comes When under Oisin Murphy who showed in the Haydock heavy that experience can often beat youth as he easily disposed of the 3yo Regal Reality, Last seasons Sussex Stakes winner he has struggled this term but the ground finally came his way to land this Group 3 prize. 

Here Comes When could find himself being lined up for a pop at the QEII Stakes on Champions Day especially if the conditions are the same as how Saturday was and that would be no problem as it usually is damp come October. 

Here Comes When

The second leg came in the finale a fillies’ handicap over 1m2f in which Lorellina racked up her third win on the bounce to supplement wins at Chester and Salisbury and gave Oisin Murphy his third winning ride of the afternoon.  

For the 2yo we had the Listed Ascendant Stakes also over a mile and despite the absence of Beatboxer the crowd were still treated to a quality contest and Tom Dascombe made sure that at least one big prize stayed in the area as Great Scot picked up more black type following a recent third at Deauville in a 1m Listed event to hold at bay the highly regarded Floating Artist back in second, staying on nicely he looks to have a solid career ahead of him over middle distances next term.  

So despite the weather being largely awful it certainly proved to be an interesting last day at work for outgoing Haydock boss Jason Fildes who heads off to pastures new at Highclere, like many I wish him all the best in his new venture and no doubt he will pop his head round the door at times and I also wish new boss Dickon White the best of luck as he takes the reins of the good ship Haydock Park. 

Racing wise here we will be back at the end of the month for what could possibly be the flat finale of 2018, till then Goodbye