Haydock Park, Saturday 25th May 2019,Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes Day

Battaash Cements Victory

Battaash joined Mind Games and Kingsgate Native in being dual winners of this famous sprint when he obliterated a small but select field of five furlong speedsters as he scorched his way up the Haydock turf to land Saturday’s feature race as he kicked off his 2019 season in style.

In a race which had winners of many of the big specialist races over the minimum trip Battaash travelled supremely well under Jim Crowley and when asked to pick up he readily came to the front from which point it was Game Over for the rest of his rivals, Alpha Delphini and Mabs Cross both gave a gallant chase in behind but neither could live with the winner who was simply the best on the day.

The first three should all meet again next month in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot and that should make for a race to savour.

Before that we had something of a turn up in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes over 6f as odds on favourite Calyx was comprehensively walloped by the Kevin Ryan trained Hello Youmzain who won with plenty of conviction under Kevin Stott to throw his hat in the ring for the Commonwealth Cup.

Calyx came into this off the back of an Ascot win where as Hello Youmzain was fourth in the Greenham at Newbury and was dropping back in trip, both travelled nicely into the race then when given the key to the door Calyx began to hang over to the far rail and was lucky to hang on for second spot where was Hello Youmzain ran on readily and looks set for a crack at Royal Ascot and stay sprinting this season with a return here in September all the more possible.

As for Calyx he now has to rebuild his reputation after a poor showing, he is clearly a far better horse than this but now the jury will be out after him should he do this again.

On a day when British horses were bagging big pots in Ireland the reverse was done here in the Cecil Frail as Forever In Dreams from Aidan Fogarty’s yard bagged an ultra competitive renewal at 16-1, formerly trained in France she was 7th in last years Queen Mary and ran well enough on debut for this stable at Cork just over two weeks ago, this will certainly enhance her paddock value and she is one to keep an eye on.

Haydock’s big handicap came in the second race which was the ultra competitive Silver Bowl over 1m for 3yo and no doubt big race sponsors Amix Concrete would have told the representative of H.R.H. Princess Haya of Jordan that they could offer her and husband Sheikh Mohammed a discount on a new driveway or three after her horse Beatboxer came from the clouds to deny Munhamek as they hit the line in a race full of incident in the early stages.

Beatboxer was dropping back in trip from 1m2f and of all his three wins they have all come on courses with a turn as both his poor showings have been at Newmarket so while a go at the Britannia would seem logical it would be far better to aim him for a race with a turn, Munhamek is an improving type in second and should gain compensation soon, this is always a race to keep an eye on as the season goes on.

Finally the opening race was a two mile handicap which saw Lucky Deal bounce back to form under Franny Norton, after a poor showing in the Chester Cup a couple of weeks ago he seemed far happier on this quicker surface and breezed to the lead in the last couple of furlongs to win very nicely and should improve to get himself into the reckoning for the Northumberland Plate.

Next up on here in what has been a busy schedule we head down to Epsom on Friday for the Investec Oaks and Coronation Cup, that will be well worth the trip down.

Till then, Goodbye

Haydock Park, Saturday 11th May 2019, Pertemps Swinton Hurdle Day.

The North West’s racing roadshow moved from Chester for the short hop across the M56 then a brief dash up the M6 to Haydock for the UK’s only mixed meeting which brought races from 6f to 2m7f on the level and over hurdles and fences.

In weather which was far better than the monsoon two weeks ago and this week at the Roodee it was a case of when the Linen Suit met the Tweed, the Panama met the Flat Cap and the taller jockeys met the much shorter ones!

Patriote Gains Swinton Glory

2011 was the last time the top weight went in but Sam Twiston-Davies landed his first win the first big race of the new jumps season on Le Patriote came home a ready winner in what looked on paper an ultra competitive renewal of this famous handicap.

Trained by Dr Richard Newland he came back from his winter break with a nice success over further at Cheltenham last month and looks set for another holiday before the return of the core season, a possible go at the Greatwood despite being a long way off could be a potential target.

Project Bluebook came second with former Swinton winner John Constable back in third spot, sadly Arthington suffered a fatal injury in the race and we offer our condolences to all involved.

Frost Shines Again

A new season and no let up from Bryony Frost who landed a nice win in the opener on the Neil King trained Canyon City, last spotted in a three mile hurdle on Grand National Day when sixth he travelled nicely before going ahead towards the final flight and despite hitting it this was a taking performance, going in off 137 he also has a mark of 76 on the flat which given his current form could certainly be exploited at this stage.

As usual the crowd lapped up Bryony and in the post race interview on the podium mentioned that due to this meeting be a mixed one she actually felt tall for once being around the flat jockeys.

Voyage Returns Home

On the flat the afternoon’s big race came in the Listed Spring Trophy over 7f and like the last meeting the feature went the way of the John Quinn trained Safe Voyage who recorded course and distance win number three here and despite the small field of seven he did meet trouble in running as the race got going up the straight but he managed to show he had made the requisite improvement to go up in grade.

Clearly he loves Haydock and connections have mentioned going for a Group 3 race next, with his good form here surely another return for the John O’Gaunt over 7f would be ideal unless a hop over the channel to France would be preferred instead.

Best Of The Rest

Shabaaby kick started his sprinting career back in style by getting the better of Emblazoned to bag the 6f Conditions Stakes nicely under Jim Crowley for Owen Burrows, a dual winner as a 2yo he didnt progress at all last season but a gelding operation looks to have helped work the oracle and he could be in for a decent summer, the way he ran on at the end showed he could easily be effective at 7f too, a race in patter company looks imminent.

Graham Lee used the horse wisely as Jedhi landed the saying handicap over 1m6f with consummate ease, breezing up in the last quarter mile she is one to keep in those trackers and no doubt Hughie Morrison will be eager to pick up some black type with her, The force is certainly strong with this one as win readily she did!

Finally Nicky Henderson had a good reason to smile after Whisper’s poor showing earlier on as Brave Eagle streaked away with the 2m5f Intermediate Chase under Nico De Boinville, only 7yo he has some chasing experience although this trip being a little bit shorter than his best showed he does have a turn of foot, possibly a trip to Perth or Uttoxeter for their big summer chases would suit him than the Summer Plate.

Wattspots

Emblazoned, 4yo Colt was runner up in the 6f Conds Race but don’t rule him out from improving during the season, can make into a nice sprinter.

Politicise, 3yo Gelding trained by William Haggas might be in danger of being a nearly horse but kept on in the 1m Hcap to show a move to 1m2f would be no bad thing to do with him.