A maximum field of 17 is due to line up in the £100,000 bet365 Old Newton Cup (3.15pm), staged over just short of a mile and a half and the highlight of a very valuable seven-race card at Haydock Park this Saturday, July 6.
Heading the weights on 9st 10lb is First Eleven (John Gosden/Rab Havlin, 11/2 with bet365). The Khalid Abdullah-owned four-year-old Frankel colt was G3-placed in 2018 and makes his first appearance since enjoying a winning seasonal reappearance over a mile and a half in a competitive York handicap in May.
Al Muffrih (8st 12lb), for the in-form pair of trainer William Haggas and jockey Danny Tudhope, is having just his sixth career start in Saturday’s big handicap, with bet365 pricing him as the 9/2 favourite. The four-year-old son of Sea The Stars has won twice, including last time out under Tudhope in the Zetland Gold Cup over 10 furlongs at Redcar in May. He has yet to race beyond a mile and a quarter.
Last year’s bet365 Old Newton Cup went the way of Rainbow Rebel, trained by Britain’s most successful trainer of all time, Mark Johnston. This year North Yorkshire-based Johnston, who has won the historic Old Newton Cup three times, relies on Aquarium (Franny Norton, 9st 4lb, 14/1), a never-nearer seventh last time out after meeting trouble in the 12-furlong Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot in June, and Charles Kingsley (David Egan, 9st, 14/1), another lightly-raced four-year-old who has recorded wins at Hamilton and Brighton so far this year.
Charles Kingsley finished fifth behind Island Brave (Heather Main/Alistair Rawlinson, 9st, 14/1) in the 13-furlong Paisley Cup Handicap at Ayr on June 22.
Another starter from the Paisley Cup Handicap who re-opposes again at Haydock Park on Saturday is the second Kelly’s Dino (Karl Burke/Ben Curtis, 8st 12lb, 14/1).
The six-year-old son of Doctor Dino was making his first start since undergoing wind surgery at Ayr, having enjoyed a fine 2018 which resulted in five victories.
North Yorkshire-based Burke reported today: “Kelly’s Dino is in good form and has come out of Ayr well.
“It was a good run at Ayr, where we were hoping he would win and get a penalty to get into the bet365 Trophy at Newmarket’s July Meeting.
“Our ultimate aim is to get him into the Ebor at York as we feel he is probably better over a bit a further nowadays.
“Having said all that, the bet365 Old Newton Cup is a very good prize to go for and hopefully a good run on Saturday will see him rated high enough to get into the Ebor.
“He has relatively few miles on the clock for a six-year-old, as he was on the sidelines with injury as a three-year-old and a four-year-old. The wind operation he underwent before Ayr has definitely helped him and we are hoping he is a horse we can now enjoy for the next couple of seasons.
“As you would expect for a £100,000 race, the Old Newton Cup is a very competitive contest, but we are going there in good form and hopefully he can run a good race.”
Eddystone Rock (John Best/Kieren Fox, 8st 7lb, 18/1) has been a model of consistency this season, with victories in competitive handicaps at Leicester and Chester.
The seven-year-old has also twice run well over the mile and a half Derby course at Epsom Downs, taking second to Soto Sizzler in the Great Metropolitan Handicap in April and third last time out behind the same rival in a valuable handicap on Derby Day, June 1.
Kent-based Best said today: “Eddystone Rock is a very consistent horse, who has always run his race for us since we got him.
“He has run well twice at Epsom this season, but I don’t think it is a track that suits him that well as he doesn’t really come down the hill.
“The Old Newton Cup is obviously going to be a very tough race as you would expect, but I think we are going there with a decent each-way chance.”
Dual-purpose trainer Ian Williams, enjoying a tremendous Flat season, has two representatives – Byron Flyer (David Probert, 9st 5lb, 12/1), a winner on the Flat and over hurdles, who shaped with promise last time out when eighth in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot, and Restorer (Pat Dobbs, 8st 13lb, 25/1).
Godolphin is represented by Lucius Tiberius (Charlie Appleby/Brett Doyle, 9st 2lb, 10/1), fourth in the G2 Prix d'Harcourt at Longchamp, France, in May, but a hampered 10th at Royal Ascot last time in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap.
Cheshire-based Tom Dascombe is the leading trainer on the Flat at Haydock Park over the past five seasons and is represented by Epaulement (Richard Kingscote, 8st 13lb, 12/1), a winner over 10 furlongs at Haydock Park in 2018, but ninth behind Al Muffrih in the Zetland Gold Cup.
Also on the 14/1 mark with bet365 are G3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes fifth Bombyx (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt, 8st 13lb), Melting Dew (Sir Michael Stoute/Pat Dobbs 8st 12lb) and the consistent Koeman (Mick Channon/John Egan, 8st 11lb), a staying-on seventh in the 2018 bet365 Old Newton Cup.
There are two reserves – Infrastructure (Martyn Meade/ Darragh Keenan (5), 8st 5lb, 10/1) and Grandee (Roger Fell/Sam James, 8st 4lb, 25/1) who come into the race if there are any non-runners before 1.00pm tomorrow, Friday, July 5.
Bet365 Old Newton Cup, bet365 odds:
9/2 Al Muffrih; 11/2 First Eleven; 10/1 Lucius Tiberius, Infrastructure; 12/1 Byron Flyer, Epaulement; 14/1 Charles Kingsley, Bombyx, Island Brave, Aquarium, Melting Dew, Kelly's Dino, Koeman; 18/1 Eddystone Rock; 20/1 Society Red; 25/1 Indianapolis, Restorer, Grandee; 33/1 Everything For You
Each-Way: 1/4 odds 1-2-3-4
The bet365 Old Newton Cup, which evolved from the Newton Gold Cup first run in 1807, represents one of the last tangible links with the old racecourse on Newton Common where horseracing took place from at least 1678 through to the move to the present course at Haydock Park in 1899.
The tradition and heritage of the race makes the Old Newton Cup an integral part of Lancashire's racing history and the community.
Since the turn of the century, the famous handicap has seen top-class winners, including globetrotter Collier Hill (2003), a three-time G1 winner around the world, 2005 G1 Japan Cup victor Alkaased (2004) and more recently Dangerous Midge, successful in the 2010 G1 Breeders' Cup Turf just four months after an eight-length romp at Haydock Park.
A short film on the Old Newton Cup features Haydock Park's Chairman Lord Daresbury, Committee Member Nicholas Whittle, ITV Racing's presenter Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing's chief commentator Richard Hoiles. Dickon White, North West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, and historian John Pinfold.
The film is available to view here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=151&v=TSr-4hnRjU0
Saturday also features the £93,000 bet365 G2 Lancashire Oaks (2.40pm, six runners), staged over the same distance as the bet365 Old Newton Cup.
The 5/2 joint-favourites with bet365 are Dramatic Queen (William Haggas/Richard Kingscote) and Enbihaar (John Gosden/Dane O’Neill). The duo met last time out in the G3 Bronte Cup over a mile and three-quarters at York on May 25, when Dramatic Queen came out on top by half a length.
Gosden is seeking a record-breaking eighth victory in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks and also relies on G3 Nayef Stakes winner Highgarden (Robert Havlin, 5/1) while Haggas has a second runner in Klassique (Danny Tudhope, 7/2), who landed the G3 Pinnacle Stakes over the course and distance on heavy ground on June 8.
Also ling up are Nyaleti (Mark Johnston/Franny Norton, 8/1) and Shailene (Andrew Balding/David Probert, 16/1), who scored in Listed company at San Siro, Italy, on June 23.
bet365 Lancashire Oaks – bet365 prices:
5/2 Dramatic Queen, Enbihaar; 7/2 Klassique; 5/1 Highgarden; 8/1 Nyaleti; 16/1 Shailene
Each-way 1/4 odds, 1-2
Saturday opens with the £100,000 bet365 Handicap (2.05pm, seven runners), over a mile and three quarters for three-year-olds.
Johnston saddled the first two home in 2018 and this year has four starters, Haydock Park scorers Sir Ron Priestley (Franny Norton, 9st 6lb, 3/1 favourite with bet365) and Mind The Crack (Richard Kingscote, 9st 1lb, 100/30), plus Summer Moon (Ben Curtis 9st 7llb,
6/1) and Themaxwecan (Dann Tudhope, 9st 6lb, 9/2).
Another leading contender Arctic Fox (Richard Fahey/Paddy Mathers, 9st, 11/2), who is on a four-timer following a win at Newmarket and two successes at York.
bet365 Handicap, bet365 bet:
3/1 Sir Ron Priestley; 100/30 Mind The Crack; 9/2 Themaxwecan; 11/2 Arctic Fox; 6/1 Summer Moon; 7/1 Prefontaine; 16/1 Tidal Point
Each-way 1/4 odds, 1-2
The seven-race programme on Saturday runs from 2.05pm through to 5.35pm.
Haydock Park also races this afternoon, Thursday, July 4, Glass Times Raceday, with a seven-race programme running from 2.00pm to 5.00pm, and tomorrow evening Friday, July 5, July Tropicana Race Evening, when the seven-race card takes place from 5.50pm through to 9.00pm.
The going at Haydock Park is currently Good to Firm. There has been no rain since Tuesday, June 25.
The forecast is for dry, but increasingly cloudy weather. 24 millimetres of irrigation was applied to the course between Monday and Wednesday. Conditions will be reviewed again tomorrow morning.