It’s probably fair to assume that the driver of the stable lorry for the David Pipe yard felt the journey back down to the West Country was much quicker as they were driving home for Christmas from Haydock Park yesterday as Daklondike flew past Ballyarthur like one of Santa’s reindeer on double time to land the feature Tommy Whittle Chase on a pleasant if occasionally wet afternoon on Merseyside.
A competitive looking race on paper and so it proved to be as Daklondike was hidden away in the early part but came on the premises up the straight and Tom Scudamore had to galvanise everything to land this popular Haydock steeplechase, he looks every inch a stayer and could easily get a Grand National entry although his rating would need a good increase from his winning mark today of 139, next months Peter Marsh back here or the Great Yorkshire at Doncaster would suit this horse down to the ground as he loves a decent paced race and he stays much further than this 2m7f trip.
Frost is very unwelcome amongst fans of sports that take place on grass in the winter but one thing that has been a winters tale this season has been the winners coming by the way of Bryony Frost as she won her first ever race at Haydock on the Paul Nicholls trained Breslan D’as in the two mile novice chase as she galvanised her mount to overpower chasing debutant Whatswrongwithyou in a thrilling finish after the last fence, these two were separated by a pound on the ratings and so it showed at the business end.
Both these two look like they are useful yardsticks but possibly not Arkle material, Breslan D’as has form over further and will relish a crack at 2m4f, the Dipper at Cheltenham may come to soon so a go at a nice handicap may be considered, Whatswrongwithyou will make a chaser and should land a novice before too long.
Queenofhearts proved to be the ace in the pack in the Listed Mares’ Hurdle over 2m3f getting the better over Danse Idol who couldn’t quite waltz to victory going down by 1.5 lengths, this was a decent looking contest on paper with plenty of mares open to improvement but Queenofhearts had black type already on her form boom in the shape of the big Sandown bumper run in March, she seems to love a battle and a step up to Graded company looks on the cards after this.
Finally the owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede are currently dreaming of a white Christmas at the moment with their beloved and much loved grey Bristol De Mai at Kempton on Boxing Day at the moment but the starter course came up nicely in the shape of Ballymoy who landed the feature 2m3f Handicap Hurdle pretty easily, stepping up in trip he looked to appreciate it under Sam Twiston-Davies who rode a double that afternoon for his dad and should be able to find more improvement over this distance before embarking on a chasing campaign next season.
A fair pre Christmas meeting then with some good finishes to entertain the crowd who wisely avoided the hustle and bustle of the shopping centres.
Providing the weather doesn’t affect anything we shall be back at Haydock next Sunday for The Last Fling Chase, until then may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.