With the sun out in full force, there was a real summer feel to Haydock Park’s Friday afternoon card on July 16th.
Plenty of big stables were represented across the eight race card and with lots to note, we asked Nick Seddon to pick out five things we learned on the day …
Mutasaabeq bounces back to form
The Charlie Hills-trained Mutasaabeq looked a serious talent when bolting up at the Craven Meeting at Newmarket in April and although things haven’t quite gone to plan for him since, he gained a much needed confidence boost when taking the Sam (Blue Steel) Rose Conditions Stakes in good style.
The 33-1 outsider Asad gave his three rivals plenty to think about for the Mick Appleby team with an aggressive ride up front, but once Mutasaabeq hit top gear he really started to roll and this four-length success showed why so many fancied him to run well in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
And speaking away from the track, winning trainer Charlie Hills was pleased to see the 6-4 favourite return to the winner’s enclosure.
Hills said: “Obviously it was nice to get his head back in front. He did well and we’ll get him back here now. If he comes out of it well we might have a look at the Thoroughbred Stakes for him next at Goodwood for him next.”
Meanwhile, winning jockey Jim Crowley added: “He did it well and it was nice to get him back on track.
“We threw him in the deep end at the Guineas and it just didn’t work out at Ascot but it was nice to get his head back in front there and hopefully we can get back on track now. It was a nice little confidence boost here.”
The Sky is the limit for promising Noonday Gun
Despite his powerful connections, it’s fair to say that it’s taken the regally-bred Noonday Gun a little while to find his feet. Arriving here winless from his five starts this term, the four year old Dubawi gelding certainly didn’t stand out as an obvious candidate to take the opener, but he took a notable step forward on just his second start over a mile and six furlongs when striking in the Watch On Racing TV Handicap at 4-1.
The son of Sky Lantern is a striking type on looks and unlike his half-sister Snow Lantern it seems that staying will be his game, judging by how well he kept on to the line when holding off the attentions of the Ian Williams-trained Autumn War in second.
And speaking after the race, winning jockey Rossa Ryan feels that there’s plenty more to come from Richard Hannon’s charge, particularly as we head into the autumn. He said: “He’s bred to be a nice horse. He’s a grand horse and is built completely differently to his half-sister.
“He stays when he probably shouldn’t and I think when he goes further he’ll be better. He’s only starting to come into himself now and I’d like to think when he comes into the autumn on softer ground again he’ll improve again and up to two miles. He’s a lovely horse going forward.”
Just A Claim provides a valuable winner for Crehan
We may still be in July, but the race for the apprentice title is shaping up into a thrilling one and Mark Crehan picked up a valuable success on board the Roger Fell-trained Just A Claim (4-1) in the five-furlong Racing TV Nursery Handicap.
The daughter of Aclaim looked a different proposition for the switch to nurseries and she knuckled down well to see off the attention the John Quinn-trained Emporium Flame by half a length under Crehan – who closed the gap on Marco Ghiani to seven winners at the time of writing.
And speaking after the race, Crehan feels that there could be plenty to come from Just A Claim yet. He said: “Mr Fell just told me to ride her as I find her and be patient on her. I had a feeling that when she got in front she’d have a little look around but the runner-up helped me with that and she’s run on well. She won by pricking her ears and when she learns to really gallop and race there should be plenty more from her yet.
“I’m trying not to keep an eye on the tally and I’m just taking each winner as it comes but there’s still a good bit of the season left and if I can peg him (Marco Ghiani) back, I’ll certainly try and do that.”
Global shows plenty of Wisdom on debut
The second race on the card was the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes over six furlongs, which offered a nice mix of debutants and runners with experience.
It was those with previous starts on the racecourse who dominated the betting for this, but they were all caught cold by the Chris Dwyer-trained Global Wisdom (7-1), who showed a nice turn of foot to come through and win pretty comfortably on debut.
The son of No Nay Never doesn’t have any fancy entries or anything just yet, but winning jockey Silvestre De Sousa certainly liked what he saw. He said: “He likes the ground, travelled well and should improve for that run. I don’t know how good he will be but they like him at home. He settled where he was at the back, I gave him every chance and he picked up well.”
Macho is getting the hang of things for Haslam
There were several eye-catching winners across the afternoon, but none were more deserving than Macho Pride (7-2 Favourite) who was rewarded for his consistency when scoring by two and a quarter lengths in the second division of the six-furlong Visit racingtv.com Handicap.
The three year old has been running with plenty of credit so far this term, placing on each of his last three outings coming into this, and he showed a nice turn of foot to quickly put matters to bed inside the final furlong for the Ben Haslam team.
And winning jockey Harrison Shaw – who has now partnered the son of Camacho on each of his last seven outings – was pleased to see everything come together for his charge, adding that he could well find more improvement yet.
He said: “He’s got a deserved win there and his last run at Pontefract was very good. He was just beaten by a Haggas horse and they’re pretty dominant when they come up north.
“We’ve stepped him up to six the last few times and he really likes it. We had him gelded as he was a bit keen but it seems to have really brought about a change and he’s settling better and has seen that out really well today. It took a bit of time to get things right with him but I suppose by the time we’ve done that he’s down to a nice mark, so there’s no reason why he can’t go in again.”