Premier league footballers including England’s Euro 2020 star Jordan Henderson were celebrating on Thursday, 1st July after the horse they jointly own won for a second time in a fortnight at Haydock Park writes Nick Seddon.
MICHAEL OWEN SAYS MR McCANN HAS GIVEN SIX PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS “A PERFECT START TO RACEHORSE OWNERSHIP”
Former England international and part owner, Michael Owen, could not hide his excitement when two year old colt Mr McCann, who races in the colours of AJT Group and is named in honour of Liverpool FC press officer Matt McCann, obliged in the British EBF Novice Stakes.
The son of Kodiac can boast some notable owners in Liverpool stars Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson as well as Brighton star Adam Lallana and he defied his starting price of 22-1 in the seven furlong contest when wheeling away to a two and three quarter length success under Jane Elliott for trainer Tom Dascombe.
And Owen, who owns Dascombe’s base at Manor House Stables, feels that Mr McCann could prove himself to be an above-average recruit. He said: “Six of the lads from Liverpool have just got into ownership in the last few months. They wanted to buy a horse so we went to the breeze ups and I must say Ed Sackville and Tom Dascombe who bought the horse have picked a real good one in terms of what they needed.
“They were new to the game and wanted a sharp two year old, but he looks more than that and he was pretty impressive giving a penalty away. It’s a perfect start to racehorse ownership for them, so hopefully they get the bug and they’re in it for a long time.”
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was unable to attend Haydock Park due to being in action at Euro 2020 for England this summer. And when asked about their progress, Owen, who scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for his country, revealed that he has been impressed with what he has seen.
He said: “The win over Germany was a great moment. I remember playing Brazil in the quarter finals of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea and I remember thinking we could be world champions if we could just get past that game. Ukraine, Denmark and Czech Republic – who we’ve beaten before – are now left in our side of the draw and I’m sure the lads were thinking that (about the Germany game).
“The hard bit has been done now but you can’t look at it like that and you have to focus on the next one on Saturday. As much as the competition has been going on around Europe it’s centred in the UK and I think that’s going to have a huge bearing on our performances if we can just get a good result in Rome. The country is going to go mad if they do! We’ve had a terrible year or two so this is exactly what we need to put some smiles on faces.”
SIDE SHOT CONTINIES ASCENDANCY
Elsewhere on the card, the improving Side Shot (5-1) improved his tally to three victories from four starts since joining John and Thady Gosden with a decisive victory in the Watch On Racing TV Handicap over 10 furlongs.
The son of Frankel is really thriving on his racing at the moment, with the only blot on his copy for his new handler coming at Haydock Park in testing conditions on 22nd May, and winning jockey Rab Havlin feels there could be plenty more to come from him yet.
He said: “He was a horse we quite liked before he ever ran and then he’d get to the racecourse and try and do things back to front. He’s taken a while to learn on the job and he had a few quirks we had to iron out but he’s started to look progressive.
“He’s on an upward curve and I felt that today was probably a stronger performance than last time. He was dropping back in trip today so he’s pretty versatile and he’s relaxing a lot better. He’s listening now and who knows where his ceiling will be.”
DAPPER MAN SCORES IN DETERMINED FASHION
The opening race on the card was the Haydock Apprentice Training Series Handicap over five furlongs, which was won in determined fashion by the Roger Fell-trained Dapper Man (6-1), who rallied after being headed to claim a 13th career success under Saffie Osborne.
And the winning jockey was full of praise for the seven year old’s resolution. She said: “He was so quick out the gates, which probably won me the race as I was able to nick a length. He was my first winner back since my fall earlier this year and it was really nice to get back on board and win on him again.”
That victory was Osborne’s 15th of the season as she bids to mount a challenge for the apprentice title, though she added that she was taking it one ride at a time. She said: “It’s still really early in the year and I’m trying not to think too much (about the apprentice title) right now, but it’s obviously always going to be in the back of your mind. There’s lots of apprentices riding lots of winners so it’s going to be really competitive, but hopefully we should be close enough.”
ONEFORTHEGUTTER DEFIES HIS NAME ON DEBUT
Another who caught the eye on the card was the Ian Williams-trained Oneforthegutter (25-1), who defied his big price when making a winning start to his career in the six furlong EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes under Dougie Costello.
And the winning jockey was hopeful that he could have plenty of success with the colt, for a trainer who has supported him since his days as a jumps rider. He said: “He’s well-bred and he’s not a bad type to be looking at. I sat on him the other day for Ian and I just liked him and it’s great to get the win on the board.
“He’s hit the front well and he’s a likeable type going forward. When I was jumping me and Ian had a good relationship so it’s nice to bang in a few winners for him this last month and I’m sure we might have a bright future with this one.”
SEVENTH TIME THE CHARM FOR FLOWER OF SCOTLAND
While it’s been a turbulent few weeks on the sporting front for those following the Tartan Army at Euro 2020, there was a fitting winner of the final race as Flower Of Scotland (100-30) got off the mark for the James Fanshawe team with a battling success in the Join RacingTV Now Fillies' Handicap.
It certainly didn’t seem likely in the early stages of the race, when the front-running Steel An Icon was allowed to build up a hefty lead as she went in pursuit of a five-timer, but jockey P J McDonald bided his time on the daughter of Gleneagles.
Flower Of Scotland had finished second on two of her six starts prior to arriving here, but those near misses hadn’t knocked her confidence and she knuckled down well to gather up the long-time leader and prevail in a tight photo finish. Watching England’s progress may be a painful sight for those north of the border at the moment, but hopefully this performance made up for it for those who placed a patriotic punt!