After the wettest day of racing you’re ever likely to see at Haydock Park on Friday, things were rather drier 24 hours later for a stellar afternoon of action that was headlined by the Group Two Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes.
There were plenty of exciting finishes for the 3,000 spectators in attendance to enjoy and we sent Nick Seddon to speak to the winners on the day…
LIBERTY BEACH SET FOR KING’S STAND TILT AFTER GUTSY TEMPLE SUCCESS
Trainer John Quinn looked to have a remarkably strong hand heading into our feature, the Group Two Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes, saddling the two market leaders in Liberty Beach (13-8 Favourite) and Keep Busy (5-2) for the five-furlong highlight.
Both fillies had enjoyed fine campaigns last year and Liberty Beach ensured that she made the perfect start to this one with a power packed front-running ride, holding off the attentions of the Karl Burke-trained Ainsdale to prevail by a neck.
And Quinn revealed that the plan was to head for the Group One King’s Stand Stakes at next month’s Royal meeting with Liberty Beach, who finished a fine third behind Battaash in the race last year.
He said: “It’s a terrific day for us and she had to be tough there, I was thinking ‘oh socks’ about 50 yards from the line, but she dug deep and as Jason Hart said nothing passed her after the line, so we’re delighted with that"
“Keep Busy was just caught on the wing and probably would have liked a bit of cover. Liberty Beach was won three times on reappearance and Keep Busy has never won first time out – but they’re both in the King’s Stand and we’ll go there next.
“Liberty Beach ran a great race at Royal Ascot last year, only nine days after winning the Cecil Frail here as a three year old, and she ran a very good race in the Queen Mary as a two year old - so Ascot suits her. The two of them are very good and both are very versatile.”
ROHAAN SHOCKS THEM ALL ONCE AGAIN!
Like the Temple Stakes, the Group Two Casumo Bet10Get10 Sandy Lane Stakes also serves as a key pointer for next month’s Royal meeting, with the winner usually going on to be a key player in the Group One Commonwealth Cup.
However, that won’t be the case this time around as the six-furlong contest was won by 33-1 outsider Rohaan, who doesn’t qualify for the big race due to being a gelding.
It’s the second Commonwealth Cup trial that Rohaan has won this season after also winning last month’s Group Three Pavilion Stakes at Ascot at 22-1 and trainer David Evans revealed that this race was the logical option for his charge.
He said: “He’s surprised them again, I don’t know why he was that sort of price because the form was there on soft ground and fast ground – he’s a class horse but nobody seems to realise it.
“He can’t go in the Commonwealth Cup because he’s a gelding and he’d have a penalty in the Jersey Stakes and the Wokingham, but this was the logical race to go for rather than Ascot.
“He’s probably had a rushed prep to get here, but it’s all worked out well. He was alright for £20,000 at the Newmarket sales, wasn’t he!”
RAADOBARG PROVIDES A LANDMARK SUCCESS FOR VARIAN
It proved to be a marquee afternoon for Roger Varian, who notched up his 1,000th winner (counting international successes) of his career with Raadobarg, who was a taking winner of the Join Casumo Today Silver Bowl Handicap.
The three year old certainly seems to be going the right way having won each of his last three outings and Varian was thrilled with the son of Night Of Thunder.
Speaking from Newmarket, Varian said: “It was a good performance. He has been in good form all year as that is his third win in a row. He likes the cut in the ground. He is genuine and a very pleasant horse to deal with. I’m delighted for the owner (Amo Racing Limited) and delighted for the team.
“It is a great landmark to reach. I owe all of the owners past and present a thanks for their support and all the team at home working so hard. I have to thank past and present members of them. It is my name on the top but there is a lot of work that goes into it. Without the support of the owners though none of this would have been possible.
“When you start training a thousand winners seems a long way away. Nahrain winning the Opera, a Group One in our first season, was very special. Kingston Hill winning the St Leger, our first and only Classic so far, was also special, as was Postponed winning the Sheema Classic and Juddmonte International.”
FRANKENSTELLA HAS THE ROYAL MEETING ON HER RADAR
Another runner who could be heading to Royal Ascot is the John Quinn-trained Frankenstella, who showed plenty of stamina to win the two-mile Download The Casumo App Today Handicap.
The four year old Frankel filly was one of two winners on the day for Quinn and he revealed after the race that she could now head for the Ascot Stakes. He said: “She was in the process of running a big race at York and went in between two and got stuck. Being a big animal, she just couldn’t get going after that.
“She came out of the race well and we felt the trip and track and an ease in the ground would suit her. All being well she could head for the two and a half mile handicap at Royal Ascot next month.”
MURPHY BOOSTS TITLE CHALLENGE WITH A QUICK-FIRE DOUBLE
He may not have prevailed in the feature, but Oisin Murphy did no harm to his aspirations of winning a third straight jockey’s title, riding a double on the opening two races on the card.
It’s early days in this year’s championship, but there looks to be several jockeys who are capable of giving Murphy something to think about and he will have been delighted to have piloted Classic Lord to victory in the Casumo Proud To Support British Racing Handicap.
And he revealed after the race that he felt that Andrew Balding’s colt could be set for a productive campaign. He said: “He was a very likeable horse at two, he won at Pontefract at Goodwood and I thought he was a bit better than 78.
“He obviously improved from his run at Chester, he goes through soft ground and hopefully he’ll have a good year. He’s a likeable horse, he’s an easy ride and he stays well.”
Murphy then struck in the Casumo Horse Racing And Sports Betting Handicap on board 4-1 favourite Molls Memory – much to the delight of plenty of those in attendance – and the jockey was full of praise for the in-form Ed Walker team.
He said: “The race worked out and she relaxed well. It’s the first time she’s won round a turn but she relishes this ground and six and seven furlongs is all the same to her. Ed Walker had a great run at York and his horses are flying at the moment."