Haydock Park, Saturday 18th December 2021, Virgin Bet Tommy Whittle Chase Day

After an enforced absence from last years meeting due to the Tier system which meant due to the boundary lines of Greater Manchester just ending before the gates at Haydock Park which meant entry was denied, your intrepid reporter was spending the last Saturday before Christmas watching Manchester League Football in Tyldesley, Thankfully it was back to normal (well normalish) this year as Tommy Whittle Chase Day became the traditional last meeting before Christmas yet again

Perfect Prescription For Doctor

Redemption at Christmas can often occur as Ebenezer Scrooge will most definitely testify and for Dr Richard Newland he had the same feelings as Enqarde romped home under Charlie Hammond to land the Tommy Whittle Chase after falling in the same race last year.

In what looked a competitive race on paper with sixteen runners facing the starter over the extended 3m1f trip they began to thin out like the Christmas gravy towards the business end and while many eyes were on Remastered who was looking for compensation after his crunching fall at Newbury in the Ladbrokes Trophy he couldn’t shrug off the attentions of Enqarde who was getting plenty weight and began to pull away from the last fence.

Enqarde does seem to like Haydock and may come back next month for the Peter Marsh and the National Trial in February, he will probably not head to Aintree this season so something like the Midlands National might be more up his street.

Remastered just found the extra couple of furlongs a bit far but had a nice race in him somewhere, something like the Premier Chase at Kelso might be more up his street and maybe he might benefit a bit more dropped down in trip and could be an ideal Topham horse.

Haute Estime In High Esteem

A real home nations battle in the Abram Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle saw the Salitre fly high over Haydock as the Lucinda Russell trained Haute Estime just hung on from the fast finishing Nina The Terrier to land this Listed event.

In what looked a fair but not spectacular looking race it looked set to be a Scottish-Welsh shootout as the winner had a real fight to over power the Evan Williams trained Current Mood who was still pitching in at the last but Hatue Estime showed real fight to get past her although Nina The Terrier was finally picking up speed in the last furlong and was unlucky not to mug the winner on the line.

The step up in trip seemed to suit her and this was a nice chance to pick up some black type, she should be aimed at more events at this level before going for a crack at the mares race at the Cheltenham Festival.

Haute Estime

Football Double On Merseyside

Former FA Cup winning manager Harry Redknapp wasn’t at Haydock but no doubt he celebrated back at home with a glass of something and a bowl of his favourite jam roly poly as Shakem Up’Arry put his Ffos Las fall firmly behind as he put in a quality round of jumping to break his chasing duck on just his second start over fences when he breezed up in the 2m handicap chase under Luca Morgan.

He was fairly good over hurdles but looks a natural over fences and will certainly build from this and is one to keep an eye on.

In the 2m3f handicap hurdle former Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick had good reason to smile as Up For Parol benefited from a return to the smaller obstacles as he got the better of Stellar Magic in a proper grandstand finish where he eventually ran out a length and a half winner.

He didn’t seem to like the fences at Ffos Las and it looks like for the time being he’ll remain over timber and could be Lanzarotte bound in January although that would be the race at Kempton as opposed to a winter holiday.

Elsewhere Adrimel got his novice chase career back on the right track as he took full advantage of the 6lb he received in the 2m novice chase, he was a fluent hurdler last season and showed his class when he took the Leamington Novice Hurdle at Warwick in January, things didn’t go to plan at Exeter on his chasing debut but now he looks set to kick on from this and may return here in January for the G2 Altcar over 2m4f.

So the year of 2021 is almost at an end, and at the moment things are up in the air regarding life going on as normal due to the obvious but may i take this moment to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year too, touch wood we shall be back here on the 30th for The Last Fling raceday although that depends on the weather being kind and the L word not occuring from the government.

Till the next time, hopefully soon, Have a great Christmas and stay safe.

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