Haydock Park, Saturday 22nd May 2021, Casumo Temple Stakes Day

Finally after a long fifteen month absence during which the world as we know it had a bit of fisticuffs with a virus that could potentially have wiped humanity off the face of the earth, racegoers finally returned to the North West as Haydock Park opened the gates to a decent seven race card on day two of the second May meeting.

Beach Asscends To Temple Summit

John Quinn has been no stranger to the Haydock winners enclosure in recent years and this afternoon proved no exception as his 4yo filly Liberty Beach put in a power packed performance to land the feature G2 Temple Stakes over 5f, straight out from the stalls she was head down and went through the soft Haydock ground at full pelt, she did have to fend off the attentions of Ainsdale in the last half furlong or so but the line just came in time win by a diminishing neck.

Liberty Beach,2021 Temple Stakes

She will most definitely head off to the Royal meeting next month for a face off with Battaash in the Kings Stand and while she has a few lengths to make up on him from Goodwood last year she will give a good account of herself but ground wise Liberty Beach definitely prefers some juice in the ground, Longchamp in October will also be another main aim for her in the autumn.

Ainsdale back in second was very unlucky not to get up on the line just going down by a neck and can certainly take a hand in the big sprints this year although going off this race he will be far better at 6f.

Rohaan Hits The Note In Sandy Lane

To those probably of a more younger generation Rohaan is a musician from Manchester whose links to his very good tunes can be found here in this link https://linktr.ee/rohaanmusic

On the equine front Rohaan was very lucky not have been robbed of the Sandy Lane Stakes as he made it a second turf win of the season just hanging on from the fast finishing Dragon Symbol in a thrilling finish.

David Evans is always someone who can produce a quality horse when given one and Rohaan was following up from his recent win in the G3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot, sadly he isn’t eligible for the Commonwealth Cup due to being a gelding but other options will certainly be available later on with possibilities of the Wokingham and the Jersey Stakes being mentioned in dispatches.

Rohaan, 2021 Sandy Lane Stakes

Jack Bowls Perfect End In Bowl

Haydock’s Silver Bowl is always a competitive race for three year olds and this years proved to be just that as Roger Varian landed his second winner of the meeting here with Raadobarg who made his handicap debut a winning one with an excellent win in the race, always going kindly in the heavy ground he put the race to bed in the last two furlongs keeping runner up Seasett firmly at bay.

Already a winner of two novice events at Leicester and Thirsk this term Raadobarg is clearly worth more than this winning mark of 88 and will be in the mid 90s for sure when he gets reassessed, Royal Ascot looks to be his next stop for the Brittania should the rain keep itself in the UK and still being an entire some black type will be sought after too.

Raadobarg, Silver Bowl winner

As for the best of the rest, Oisin Murphy rode a double on the day in the first two races, in the opening 1m4f handicap for 3yo he rode Classic Lord to victory in what looked a tight race then thirty minutes later performing miracles to get Molls Memory on the line in the 7f handicap and in the staying handicap over 2m jockey Jason Hart who was successful in the Temple Stakes landed the spoils on Frankenstella.

For sports fans from this part of the world though it was just good to be back on a racecourse again, it will be a long way till full normality is resumed but with the vaccination programme going great guns at the moment then come mid summer more people will be allowed to dig out the summer dresses and smart suits which for most of 2020 were all stuck in hibernation and saw less daylight than Count Dracula on a summer holiday in Ibiza!

Providing the weather stays good after a deluge that sent the local animals down to the local DIY centre to start building a big ship and put an advert out for experienced sailors, we will be back at Haydock next Saturday afternoon, till then goodbye and it’s just sooo good to be back!

Haydock Park,Saturday 13th May 2017,Pertemps Swinton Hurdle & Spring Trophy Stakes Day

The annual yearly convention in the UK when the tweed and flat cap world meet up with the suit and trilby one for the only mixed meeting in the country, Four races over the jumps with four flat ones made for an exciting afternoon with a mix of close up finishes and long stretched out ones too. 

(L-R) Philip Hobbs,Dan Skelton,Paul Nicholls

Feature race of the day was the Grade Three Swinton Hurdle over 2m and Evan Williams continued his top quality record in this race with his third win if five years as John Constable was an absolute picture as he bolted in by fourteen lengths ahead of Optimus Prime who was part of a real heap of finishers for the minor money, Davy Russell gave this horse a peach of a ride, taking this off 134 he is now apparently being aimed at a flat campaign and has a very workable mark of 88 so expect him to turn up somewhere soon, possibly back here in two weeks for a 2m flat race. 

John Constable,2017 Swinton Hurdle winner


On the level this afternoons flat races were held on the inner course, the outer one should be back in use for the Temple Stakes in a fortnight. 

The big flat race or the day was the Spring Trophy, a listed race over 7f and this was just taken by the Richard Hannon trained Oh This Is Us, second two weeks ago over course and distance he just got the edge over Absolutley So by a neck in a thrilling finish, still an entire his connections have him in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot but an obvious target given this horse acts well at Haydock could well be the John O’Gaunt back here in June over the same trip. 

In the other races on this stellar eight race card Mia’s Storm put in a very impressive performance in the opening staying hurdle over 2m7f as she routed a decent quality field by eight lengths, she excelled over this longer trip and will go chasing in the autumn after her summer holiday with connections hoping to pick black type up at some point. 

Mia’s Storm

Monjeni quickly picked up the winning thread after last Sunday’s poor showing at Hamilton,previously a dual scorer at Wolverhampton this Ian Williams trained 4yo is still showing continued improvement since March, he is in the sales at Doncaster but the trainer is hoping any new owner will keep him in Worcestershire, taking this off 73 he is making into a nice flat stayer with no doubt a hurdling career also bound to be on the horizon in Autumn. 

A tight looking 6f Conditions Race went to the judge and eventually Di Clarke gave the verdict to the Bryan Smart trained Mythmaker who got the better over Aeolus by a neck, fit from the all weather he was fifth in the big sprint on All Weather Finals Day and can more than pay his way in the summer, Listed races will be on the agenda next, Aeolus was unlucky in defeat and could be aimed at the Chipchase at Newcastle which he won in 2015, the big disappointment was Waady but will be better back at 5f. 


Saeed Bin Surror has a nice 3yo for Godolphin in Leader’s Legacy who followed up last months Epsom maiden win in style to land the 3yo 1m handicap (0-95), well to the fore he quickened and had easily had the measure of the well fancied The Grape Escape me, This winner looks to have lots more potential and we could see him back here for the Silver Bowl in a couple of weeks time before possibly a crack at the Brittania at Royal Ascot. 

Leader’s Legacy

Champion NH trainer Nicky Henderson saddled a 1-2 in the 2m5f Intermediate Chase, Hammersly Lake under the steerage of defending champ Richard Johnson supplemented his recent win at Huntingdon with an easy stroll home here, jumping well at the back of the pack he made his way through the field and responded to the urging of Johnson, Kilcrea Vale was far better after two poor showings at Cheltenham and Sandown and will be better upped to three miles. 

The final race on the eight race card was a 2m3f Chase in which plenty had questions to answer over their form and jockey Daryl Jacob who has had plenty of big race wins here over the past few seasons picked up a very smooth win on the Ben Case trained Crookstown, back to a handy mark he made a couple of errors but travelled well and always had the measure of the novice Never Up. 


So an enjoyable afternoon of flat and jumps at Haydock, Mixed meetings will always have various opinions but the crowd enjoyed the variety of races and it was a very rare chance for both codes to have a get together. 

Next up on here we go to York on Wednesday for the opening day of the season featuring the big Group races of the day,the Duke Of York Stakes for the sprinters and the Musidora a huge trial for the Oaks, Till then goodbye.  


Optimus Prime,5yo gelding from Dan Skelton was runner up in the Swinton but can do even better when he goes over fences.  

Carigrad,3yo Colt from Hugo Palmer was third in the 1m handicap and can pick up some races as the summer goes on

Haydock Park,John Of Gaunt and Pinnacle Stakes Day,Saturday 8th June 2013

Haydock Park,John Of Gaunt and Pinnacle Stakes Day

A very warm afternoon here for the second day of this two day meeting and with Royal Ascot slowly coming up it was a last chance for a few of these to put their credentials on the line on a competitive seven race card. 
Today’s card involved a mixture of Handicaps,Listed,Group Threes and a Classified race from distances of 6f to 2m so a real mixture for flat fans. 
2.05 The BetVictor Royal Ascot No Lose Hughes Stakes ,2m,4yo+ (81-100)
The day started with the longest event of the day over two miles with fourteen stayers, the early pace was set by Beyond Conceit until three furlongs out and he was tracked by Oriental Fox throughout most of the race until De Rigeur took over in the last furlong to hold off favourite Sun Central by 1.5 lengths with Beyond Conceit back in third. 
The winner is a tough stayer and was winning his fourth race for Marco Botti,wether or not he makes into a Cup horse is another thing but he won well and could well be aimed at the Northumberland Plate in a few weeks at Newcastle,One horse who caught the eye was Apache back in fifth and could be suited by further so races like the Ascot and Goodwood Stakes later on may be ideal. 
(Below) De Rigeur winner of the 2m H’cap. 
2.40 The BetVictor Royal Ascot Money Back Pinnacle Stakes,1m4f,Group Three 4yo+ Fillies and Mares. 
A chance for some black type here in what was an ok renewal with the highest rated being 107 and the lowest 97 and this went to the Newmarket trained Moment in Time from the David Simcock yard who was held up in the early stages before making ground up and taking over from long time leader Nymphea in the last fifty yard to record a victory by a head with favourite Ambivalent back in third who was keen in the early stages which didn’t help. 
Moment in Time is lightly raced but consistent and this will have enhanced her paddock value by a fair amount,hopefully she will be back next month for the Lancashire Oaks and maybe Ambivalent will too, Nymphea was runner up in the German Oaks and fourth in the German St Leger,she is a lovely well built filly and can pick races up this year. 
3.15 The Timeform Jury Stakes (Registered as The John of Gaunt Stakes) 7f,Group Three,4yo+
It was compensation time for Germany here as Amarillo just hung on from the fast finishing Pastoral Player by a very short head with Red Jazz showing his old sparkle back in third. 
Red Jazz led for the first three furlongs until headed by the pack and Amarillo hit the front with a furlong left,Parstoral Player was held up probably a bit to far off the pace but made up ground when asked by Graham Lee and was a very unlucky loser but he will get a win at some point this season. 
The winner looks a good horse but its hard to equate his German form but he’s an honest enough sort. 
3.50 The BetVictor.Com E.B.F. Cecil Frail Stakes,6f,Listed,3yo+ Fillies and Mares. 
Compensation here for Artistic Jewel who was runner up last year and got the better of another German raider Gracia Directa by 1.25 with Hoyam back in third faring the best of the three year olds on the race. 
Artistic Jewel is an ideal filly for the smaller trainer and Ed McMahon will be delighted to get some Black Type with her and step her up in grade at some point while Gracia Directa will be winning soon. 
4.25 The BetVictor No Lose Hughes Money Back Sandy Lane Stakes,6f,Listed,3yo
A nice looking contest on paper which was took my the hot favourite Professor who followed up a recent handicap win at Ascot with a nice victory here defeating Glass Office by 1.75 lengths while Mar Mar ran the best of all the Godolphin horses today back in third. 
Professor is much better than this class and will be aimed at much better races at the bigger festivals and could even end up here in September in the Sprint Cup which would not surprise me at all. 
Mar Mar was having her first run since being sixth in the Meydaan Oaks back in March and while she has ability it’s going to be tricky to place her at the correct trip. 
5.00 The Download The BetVictor App Now Handicap Stakes,6f,3yo (66-85)
A trappy event on paper and so it proved to be with Shore Step getting his second win of the season with Robot Boy still in need of some fine tuning in second but seems much happier back at sprints. 
Shore Step won here off a rating of 78 which will no doubt be raised but he can build of this and be a useful type during the summer. 
5.35The Royal Ascot Money Back At BetVictor.com Classified Stakes,1m2f,3yo (0-80)
Only four for this race which was for winners of only one race but it was tight on paper with the four rated from 77-80. 
As expected Enzaal made the pace but was headed inside the last two furlongs then favourite Double Discount took over and held on from the fast finishing Elhaame under a strong Kieran Fallon drive. 
This was a much stronger performance from Double Discount and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here as the season progresses. 
So a fair days racing then, not the biggest quality for a Saturday but with Royal Ascot on the horizon its not that surprising really, The crowd were treated to some good finishes with the judge having to be called upon a few times to work out the results. 
After today my next blog review will come from the World Rowing Cup at Eton Dorney in Windsor which will be the semi finals of the World Cup events which is fourteen class of boat and the three finals of the International and the five finals of the Para Rowing which are at the moment scheduled to take place that day on the lake with the stars of the Olympic and Paralympic Games coming back to entertain. 
Meanwhile Royal Ascot is approaching with the cream of flat racing taking part on the Royal course for five days of amazing sport. 
Looking ahead the next racing will be the Lancashire Oaks,Old Newton Cup at Haydock in July followed by two days in Yorkshire at Pontefract and Ripon then Para Athletics at the Olympic Stadium. 
Until then keep reading and thank you for doing so. 

Haydock Park,Swinton Hurdle & Spring Trophy Day,Sat 11th May 2013

Just three meetings in the calendar are mixed and this is the second one of the year as the flat and jumping codes unite to give racing fans a real mix of flat,hurdle and steeplechasing  at its best, Seven races on today’s Haydock card with four flat,two hurdles and one chase for the punters to get stuck into. 

Technically this was the first big race of the new jumps season and today’s card included horses that have won at Royal Ascot on the flat and at the Aintree and Punchestown festivals over the sticks. 
Another bonus for me was a chance photo opportunity with trainer Emma Lavelle who was probably surprised when I asked her for a photo with her but happily obliged when I told her she was in esteemed company of other ladies I have been photographed with.   
First race was the Long Distance Hurdle over 3m with a huge field of Twenty runners and twelve flights to be negotiated, Last month at Aintree a horse called Battle Group won twice in three days and he continued his new found form for Kevin Bishop with another victory here getting the better of Jetson on the run in, always well to the fore he remains in good heart but their are not to many options for him now unless connections decide to pop over to France or give Galway a go for the Plate. Jetson ran an honest race and was leading going over the last but found Battle Group to good but he has plenty of ability, Cross Kennon was back in third and he runs well in Haydock staying hurdles at big prices and I would keep an eye on him if he runs in the Fixed Brush Hurdle in November. 
Race Two was the first flat event and was a 1m2f Handicap for 4yo+ 71-85 with only six runners that went to Hanseatic from the John Gosden stable, after the stalls opened he got to the front and made all to hold off Muharrer by 3 lengths, The winner is only 4 and this was his third career start but he has fair ability and will improve the more he races, Not sure where he will end up but he is worth keeping an eye on. 
Third race of the day was a 6f Conditions event and for a field of six the judge had to get the magnifying glass out as four of them hit the line with old warrior Regal Parade getting the verdict after just getting his head on the lollipop to fend off Royal Rock by a nose, both the first and second are 9yo with the other four being 4yo and they were firmly put in their place by the old guard, In his pomp the winner won the Group One Sprint Cup here and won a fair handicap at York in October but he has struggled in his first few starts for Milton Bradley however he likes Haydock and this is about his level nowadays. 
The fourth was the feature jumps race the Swinton Hurdle over 2m with 8 flights, this race may not attract Champion Hurdle winners which is a shame as I’d love to see Hurricane Fly give weight away but sadly that will never happen. 
It was Wales who took this years renewal with the Evan Williams trained Barizan getting the prize,always prominent from flag fall and despite having a keen interest in knocking the top bar out of the hurdles he took up the running from the long time leader Ruler of All after jumping the third last and carried on to hold Mr Mole from the Paul Nicholls yard by 0.5 lengths at the finish with Local Hero back in third, This was a fair renewal but a few of these are probably in need of a summers break but Barizan will probably stay over hurdles next season whereas Mr Mole will know doubt be sent over fences next season and will make into a useful chaser when he comes back. 
Race Five was back on the level with the feature flat race the Listed Spring Trophy over 7f for 4yo+ which was Newmarket bound for the Roger Varian trained Eton Forever on his seasonal reappearance, held up off the pace set my Red Jazz he travelled to the front and led in the last furlong to hold off the challenge from Gregorian by a head in an exciting finish, Listed is about the winners level but he could he aimed at Group Two or Three races in the summer while Gregorian will be interesting to see when he goes back up to 1m and this race will have done him the power of good over what was his seasonal start. 
It was the last race for the jump jockeys for Race Six with a 2m4f Intermediate Handicap Chase and 15 fences which had a field of 15 runners face the starter and went to the Nick Gifford trained Fairy Rath who followed up his recent Ascot victory with a good jumping display to hang on from Conquisto who was 0.75 lengths back in second with Tony Star who was staying on back in third and pace setter Poole Master back in fourth, This was a competitive race and full of good sorts for next season in the good 2m4f Chases, the only sad point was Ulysee Collonges who broke down turning for home and sadly had to be euthanised and Heez A Cracker pulled up lame but walked back safely. 
Last race was a 1m Handicap for 3yo 76-95 which had some useful types in it even though it was only a field of seven, The victor in this was Hay Dude trained by Elaine Burke in Middleham he held on by a nose from Ak Mukhdam who was quite keen early on and could be better if equipped with blinkers but looks more likely to improve, again this was the third flat race which needed the judge to call the photo which was very unusual given the small fields for the flat races today. 
So a good mix of racing today, the next mixed meeting is in August at Ffos Las but the biggest mixed meeting is in the summer at Galway with the seven day festival which is run the same week as Glorious Goodwood. 
I’ve always said we should have more of these mixed race days as it gives the fans and owners,trainers and jockeys of both codes a chance to come under one roof for the afternoon to showcase the best that we have to offer. 
Next up for me in the coming weeks will be Haydock again in a fortnight for the Silver Bowl and Temple Stakes then in June a real mixed bag with jumping from Hexham,Flat racing at Haydock and an afternoon at the Rowing World Cup in Eton Dorney. 


Haydock Park,Grand National Trial Day,Saturday 16th February 2013

The first meeting of 2013 at my local course and a very good card of National Hunt racing to enjoy as many horses have their preparations for the upcoming Cheltenham and Aintree festivals in the months ahead.

Today was a day for lovers of long distance events with four races over three miles and one race over three and a half miles with one race apiece over two miles and two and a half miles respectively.

Race One was the Victor Ludorum Hurdle for 4yo only over 2m,this race went to the Micky Hammond trained Only Orsenfoolsies who followed up his recent Catterick win with a gusty performance to get the better of Zamdy Man by 2.5 lengths,The winner looks fairly useful and has ability but might not be upto Triumph Hurdle winning standards,maybe the Fred Winter if he gets a good weight may be more his thing or possibly a Scottish Champion Hurdle later in the year, Runner up Zamdy Man now qualifies for handicaps but the handicapper may not be that lenient for him to begin with.

Race Two was the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle over 3m and this was an all the way victory for Across the Bay from Donald McCains yard and huge win for jockey Henry Brooke to hold off the very good Trustan Times by 1.25 lengths, a winner of two chases at Kelso and Carlisle this season he was going over the smaller obstacles since finishing 7th when carrying top weight in the Welsh National last month, This run will have brought his confidence back but it’s doubtful he will go for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham but he will no doubt be aimed at something, Trustan Times ran a grand race in defeat but could well go for the Liverpool Hurdle which may suit him given the way he travels plus with no Big Buck’s it is possible that race could be for the taking.

Race Three was the feature race of the day, The Grand National Trial over the stamina sapping 3m4f , a field of fourteen long distance specialist faced the starter with two previous winners in the contest also this seasons Welsh,Sussex and London National winners plus the Classic Chase winner from Warwick back in January, it was a good quality field and it went the way of the vastly improved Well Refreshed from Gary Moore’s yard in Lower Beeding,Held up in the early stages he made plenty of ground up down the back straight and turning for home began to extend his lead before a making a real hash of the last fence but this didn’t affect him to much as he went on to record a 10 length victory of previous Warwick scorer Rigadin de Beauchene who tried to follow up a recent Classic Chase win but lost no honour in coming second behind a real quality winner.

In third was the Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude who did stay on but his Gold Cup entry could well be a waste of time and yet again he follows in a long line of Welsh National winners who struggle in their next race as that Chepstow marathon always takes a lot out of them and leaves a mark for the rest of the season, All credit to the winner though as he won his first chase at Fontwell off a rating of 100 and now wins this off 129 so expect the handicapper to give him a real clobbering, not entered in the National it could well be a trip to Fairyhouse or Ayr unless they pop into Uttoxeter next month.

It was The Prestige Novices Hurdle next for Race Four over 3m, just the five runners and a classy performance from the Alan King trained Two Rockers, unbeaten in a Point and two novice events at Towcester this season he traveled well and was still on the bridle at the last flight before being asked to pick up which he duly did to record a 5l win over Ardklilly Witness with Shotgun Paddy back in third being the only ones who finished the race, The winner is a nice likeable type who could end up going Chasing next term and will be one to watch if he does, in the short term connections may go and take their chance in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival and he would have as good a chance as any due to it always being a wide open contest.

The fifth contest was a competitive Novices Handicap Chase over 2m4f and recent Wetherby victor Cloudy Too followed up here with another good performance from this improving 7yo from Sue Smiths yard, travelling and jumping well he defeated favourite Ohio Gold by 8 lengths to give Wayne Hutchinson a double on the card, His jumping has improved in his last two races and he remains on the upgrade so be worth noting where he gets aimed at and if they keep him at this trip or have a go over further later on, Ohio Gold ran well enough but probably needs to be dropped a few pounds before he wins again.

Race Six was another Pertemps Qualifier but oddly this was only a nine runner event as most of the time these races have double figure fields and it was a fourth straight win for Seymour Eric who kept stable mate Mauricetheathlete company for the first circuit before taking over and dotting home by 4.5 lengths from Knock a Hand who ran a personal best for the season with Bouggler back in third who was never able to challenge, Again as with the feature race all eyes will be what the handicapper does to this winner who began the season winning at the now sadly closed Hereford off a rating of 85 and today won on 121, hopefully he should get in the final and very much deserves to as he could be the Hunt Ball of the 2012/13 season.

The final race of the day was the Walrus Hunters Chase or as every Hunter Chase that is run between now and Cheltenham called a Foxhunters Trial. This was again over 3m and named the Walrus due to when this meeting used to be a two day event the first day all had races named with Lewis Carroll connections, anyway back to the race and it was the favourite Cottage Oak who duly obliged seeing off Current Exchange by 13 lengths with former Becher Chase winner Vic Venturi an honourable third, The winner is prominent in the betting for the Cheltenham Foxhunters and if he wins that and goes on to land the Aintree one he will win his owners an extra £25,000 or £10,000 should he land just one of them.

A very enjoyable afternoon of racing was had by all, along with good company which always makes the day even nicer.

Last season this meeting threw up a good few Festival winners including the Grand National winner, doubt any of today’s winners may do the same but then again stranger things to happen in this wonderful sport of ours.