York Races,Friday 20th August 2021, Ebor Festival, Nunthorpe Day

Winter Strikes In Summer For Easterby

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when the Ebor Festival comes around on the flat at York and for the combination of King Power Racing along with trainer Tim Easterby and jockey Silvestre de Sousa they were celebrating having a merry little summer as Winter Power won Friday’s Nunthorpe Stakes over five furlongs as opposed to 2000 Miles in mightily impressive style.

This lovely looking 3yo filly has already tasted victory twice on the Knavesmire this season and came here off the back of a confidence boosting win in the City Wall Stakes last month after not appearing to handle the Ascot undulations at the Royal meeting, connections now have an automatic invite to take part in the Breeders’ Cup turf sprint at Del Mar in November but it might be a case that despite everyone connected with the horse wishing it could be the Nunthorpe everyday they more than likely will be going to Longchamp in October instead.

Favourite Golden Pal from American trainer Wesley Ward did set out to blast it from the gate but couldn’t keep up the straight line dash as opposed to a turning five furlongs, he’ll be better suited back to a race like that, of the other placed horses, Suesa ran nicely from off the pace but surprisingly has no entrance in the Haydock Sprint next month but Dragon Symbol does and he could be hard to peg back should he turn up.

Stradivarius Wins Epic Lonsdale

For many the best result and most emotional win of the whole festival came in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup as the seven year old warrior Stradivarius under Frankie Dettori found extra reserves to see off the fight from young pretender to the throne Spanish Mission in a battle royale that would have left even the hardest of people in tears of joy.

After avoiding Goodwood due to the heavy going Stradivarius was far happier on the more faster surface here at York and in a race which had a decent pace from the outset both Stradivarius and Spanish Mission were in battle from about two and a half furlongs out as they went by longtime leader The Grand Visir very easily, from then both William Buick and Frankie Dettori chucked everything at their respective mounts, Spanish Mission just led by a head in the last furlong and looked like causing the upset but Stradivarius dug in deep and just got up where it mattered to make it five from five at York.

Stradivarius still showed that the old magic is still evident and the enthusiasm for racing isn’t gone, Ascot in October will be the main target after last year’s French invasion didn’t pay off, wether he takes in the Doncaster Cup is another thing but he may be back up the A1 all being well unless he heads straight to Ascot given their is no other race suited to him apart from the Irish St Leger at the Curragh during Irish Champions Weekend.

The Yorkshire faithful really love this old horse and it showed when he came back in to a heroes reception, Frankie did the flying dismount to the cheers of everyone to really raise the roof

Lusail Gimcrack Glory

Somebody from Al Shaqab racing will be dispatched to York on December 14th for their tea and to give the traditional Gimcrack speech at the 250th Dinner after Lusail won the 2021 running of the Gimcrack Stakes in fine style.

Already a black type winner scoring in the July Stakes at the July Festival this summer he is clearly thriving and looks likely to be heading for one of the big autumn races at Newmarket with the Middle Park possibly being the number one target, his trainer Richard Hannon will be dreaming of Guineas glory during the winter months and should stay a mile in time although maybe the sprinting division might be where his future will lie.

Best of the rest

One of the most eye-catching performances came in the very final race of the afternoon, a very competitive 0-105 rated handicap over a mile that saw Ryan Moore land his only win of the afternoon on the John Gosden trained Rifleman in the Coolmore colours.

Going in here off 95 this gelding holds an entry in next months Cambridgeshire at Newmarket where he will definitely make his presence felt if allowed to take his chance, he wasn’t stopping at the end and showed that big fields hold no fear for him and the extra furlong will pose no problem at all.

A real high quality day of equine action on the Knavesmire then with races that’ll live long in the memory of those who attended.

On the emotional front Stradivarius was the one who stole the show but for the all that came over from America, France, and the big training areas all over the UK you can always be sure that the training fraternity of Yorkshire will so everything in their power to keep a Group 1 from being taken out of the county and with Winter Power they made sure it stayed that way.

Till next time, Goodbye

Haydock Park, Saturday 7th August 2022, Rose Of Lancaster Stakes Day

Fox Power To Lancaster Glory

Just like the 2015-16 Premier League season which saw Leicester City crowned Champions, trainer Andrew Balding continued his assault on the top of trainers title with Foxes Tales topping up the prize money by adding £36648 to the coffers with a hard fought win in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes.

Run on what became heavy ground as were almost all races due to persistent rain showers Foxes Tales has had a steady season winning a maiden at Newbury and a handicap at Royal Ascot, he was one of first off the bridal under Silvestre De Sousa but kept finding for pressure and the 3yo just held on from the strong finishing Fancy Man by three parts of a length.

Foxes Tales is one of those likeable types and has been brought along nicely by his trainer, still with more to offer he could end up Ascot bound in October and given the likely conditions they’ve had over the years on Champions Day where he would have a good chance as any but should stay in training next year as he looks the sort to make a high quality middle distance 4yo.

Fancy Man back in second ran a far better race than he has all season and travelled well before being asked, he looked to stay 1m2f and might even get furthern in time.

Waliyak In Hern Romp

Waliyak took full advantage of the decimated field for the Listed Dick Hern Stakes to easily land the spoils and justify favouritism for the Roger Varian and Jack Mitchell combination.

Rated 98 she was fully entitled to win this race and unlike at Royal Ascot where she was giving weight away to Lola Showgirl, both faced off on levels and Waliyak relished the soft conditions she gained some valuable black type and no doubt the Varian yard will be perusing the race book to seek some more out to add to her eventual paddock value, the Superior Mile here on Sprint Cup day would be a reasonable target unless the cards at York or Goodwood towards the middle and end of August have something more suitable.

This race was depleted with six of the originally declared runners being taken out on account of the ground but take nothing from the winner, she could only beat what turned up and that did include a Royal Ascot winner too.

McCain Flat Raid

Songstress Rihanna might not be short of a few bob but this afternoon if she’d have opened a stall at the back of the Makerfield Stand selling brollies shouting out “By my Umbrella ella ella” as she did in her 2007 hit single “Umbrella” (Many were certainly needed here!) then she could have easily had a few quid on Russco and cheer home the Donald McCain trained horse under her daughter Ella with chants of “Come On Ella,Ella,Ella” who landed one of the 7f handicaps that book ended the card.

Having landed his two previous races over 7f down the M6 at Wolverhampton it’s clear this step up in trip has brought out the best in Russco who landed this off a recent 7lb rise to 70, the handicapper hasn’t quite got to him yet and he’s a nice fun horse for his owners.

This was also Ella McCain’s third win from fifteen rides at Haydock and with some real high quality northern handicaps coming up in August and September hopefully many trainers will use her current 5lb claim.

Elsewhere on the card the popular Middleham Park Owners were heard in fine voice as Cold Stare bounced back to form in the 3yo+ handicap over 7f, what looked a competitive race on paper turned out to be just that as he managed to hold on from the fast finishing Edgewood back in second.

He was winning here on 85 which was 4lbs off his last winning mark of 89 back at Goodwood last year and has won one race each season since his racing career began back in 2017 so now it is time to avoid him until next year unless he defies his current trend and goes in again before the season is done with.

So not the best weather for summer flat racing although Foxes Tales is certainly one to keep on side, Andrew Balding is having a real go at what looks a wide open champion trainers title and wuth the top six past the £2,000,000 mark it should make for a pulsating run upto Champions Day in October

Next up we go on our travels as Nunthorpe Day at York will be the first post lockdown awayday, till then it’s goodbye.