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.
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.
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.