The world’s leading five-furlong sprinter Battaash remains on course for his first start of 2018 in the £100,000 G2 Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes (4.00pm) at Haydock Park this Saturday, May 26, Great British Bank Holiday Family Day.
The five-furlong contest is the highlight of the excellent eight-race card, which also showcases the cream of the three-year-old sprinting crop in the £90,000 G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes (3.25pm) over six furlongs.
Battaash (Charlie Hills), one of 15 confirmations for the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes, has not raced since his dominant victory in the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly, France, in October, when he defeated Marsha by four lengths.
The four-year-old son of Dark Angel won four of his five starts in 2017, with a similarly impressive display in the G2 King George Stakes at Goodwood also among his victories. He ended the year with a rating of 123 in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.
Tom Dascombe has two horses going forward for the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes in stable star Kachy and new recruit Doctor Sardonicus.
Kachy, who finished second in the 2016 G1 Commonwealth Cup over six furlongs at Royal Ascot, is on a career-high rating of 113 following a nine-length demolition of his rivals in a five-furlong conditions race at Chester on May 11.
Doctor Sardonicus joined Dascombe from David Simcock earlier this year and made the perfect start for the stable when taking a five-furlong conditions event by two lengths on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on April 9.
Dascombe said today: “Kachy is in good shape after his win at Chester the other week.
“He came out of the race fine and didn’t lose much weight. It helps that Chester is just down the road in that respect as he didn’t have far to travel.
“Funnily enough, myself and the owner [David Lowe] haven’t made a final decision about running him on Saturday.
“There is a chance he won’t as he does seem to be a horse that is better with a good break between races, so we will make an informed decision when we have to, which will be Thursday morning.
“Doctor Sardonicus will definitely run. We have just got to see if he can transfer his All-Weather form to the turf. It is a quick five furlongs at Haydock, and the ground will be quick, so that should help.
“He has only had one run for us, but Martin Harley who rides him tells me that if we can get the right conditions for him, he is a Group class sprinter, and it looks like he should get that on Saturday.”
Godolphin could bid for its first victory in the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes with the unbeaten Dreamfield (John Gosden). The four-year-old Oasis Dream colt missed the whole of last season after winning both of his juvenile starts and made a stylish winning return in a six-furlong handicap at Ascot on May 11. He has yet to race over five furlongs.
Four-year-old filly Mabs Cross, owned by the race sponsor Chairman and CEO David Armstrong, looks another potentially top class sprinter in the making for Co Durham handler Michael Dods. She had Havana Grey (Karl Burke) and Encore d’Or (Robert Cowell) in fifth and sixth when winning the G3 Palace House Stakes over five furlongs at Newmarket on May 5.
The confirmations also include seasoned campaigners Muthmir (William Haggas) and Take Cover (David Griffiths), who are eight and 11 respectively, plus Washington DC – one of four possible runners for Aidan O’Brien, reigning champion trainer in Britain and Ireland.
Royal Ascot-winning fillies Heartache (Clive Cox) and Different League (Aidan O’Brien IRE) are among 11 entries for the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes. Since obtaining G2 status in 2015, the three-year-old contest has been won by champion sprinters Quiet Reflection (2016) and Harry Angel (2017 – the world’s best on 125 over six furlongs last year).
The excellent entries also feature Barraquero (Brian Meehan), James Garfield (George Scott) and Sands Of Mali (Richard Fahey), who were all successful in G2 company over this distance as two-year-olds.
Unfortunately (Karl Burke) captured the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August, but disappointed next time out when ninth in the G1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Further quality is added by Invincible Army (James Tate), successful on his comeback in the G3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot on May 2, and unexposed Yarmouth victor Emblazoned (John Gosden).
The action at Haydock Park on Saturday also includes the £80,000 Amix Silver Bowl Handicap (2.50pm, 31 entries) over a mile and the £47,000 Listed British Stallion Studs Cecil Frail (Sponsored By Armstrong Aggregates, 4.35pm, 17 entries) over six furlongs for fillies and mares.
Racing starts at 2.15pm and ends at 6.15pm.
The going is currently Good to Firm, Watering.
Eight millimetres of water were added to the track yesterday and a further eight millimetres will be added today.
Haydock Park also stages a seven-race programme on Friday, May 25, 188Bet Community Day.
The Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes
Group 2, £100,000 total prize fund. Five furlongs, Haydock Park, Saturday, May 26. For three-year-olds and upwards. Weights: 3-y-o colts and geldings 8st 10lb, fillies 8st 7lb; 4-y-o and up colts and geldings 9st 4lb, fillies and mares 9st 1lb. Penalties: after August 31, 2017, a winner of a G2 race 3lb, of a G1 race 5lb. Entries closed May 8 (30 entries), five-day confirmations & £7,500 supplementary entry stage May 21 (xx confirmations), final declarations 10am May 24. Maximum field 17 runners.
The Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes
Group 2, £90,000 total prize fund. Six furlongs, Haydock Park, Saturday, May 26. For three-year-olds only. Weights: colts and geldings 9st, fillies 8st 11lb. Penalties: after August 31, a winner of a G1 race 3lb. Five-day entries May 21 (11 entries), final declarations 10am May 24. Maximum field 11 runners.