Racing columnist Paul Hanagan is making a daily sortie across the Pennines as he targets winners at Haydock Park.
Understandably, there is a lot of chat this week about star horses targeting the £4.4 million in prize money at York in ten days’ time. A host of Group 1 names considering a tilt at York’s blue riband, the £1million Juddmonte International, include the winner of the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas (Churchill), St James’s Palace hero (Barney Roy), the victor in the Coral-Eclipse (Ulysses) and Breeders’ Cup Turf champion, Highland Reel.
However there are races to be won before then and Gabrial is one of the stalwarts of Richard Fahey’s yard and he goes for one of the big races of this weekend – the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock Park.
He is a bold, consistent horse who always gives of his best– York racegoers will recall seeing him in the Listed Best Western Hotels Ganton. He needs pace in running so should benefit from the larger field come 2.30pm – it’s likely to be his first field in double figures since he was placed in the Lincoln, so fingers crossed.
I am also at Haydock tonight and its Exhort in the novice contest at 6.45pm is my highlight. She was beaten by only a neck, recently at Doncaster. After such a good debut, she will benefit from the experience and also benefits from carrying five pounds less than her half dozen rivals, who are all boys.
At the height of the season, you can’t be in two places at once, so I’ve had to pass on a visit to the July Course at Newmarket tomorrow, where a favourite of mine, Dance Diva, goes for the Group 3 Sweet Solera.
I think a lot of this filly. She won her first three races and was only defeated at Ascot by a very good Mark Johnston horse. An entrant for the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther at the forthcoming Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival, she could very well be sent off favourite tomorrow and I think she could take all the beating. Silvestre de Sousa, who is having a great season as he targets the Stobart Flat jockeys’ championship, deputises in the saddle and I reckon he could be on to a winner.
Mention of the summer four-day highlight at York, which begins a week on Wednesday (23rd), reminds me that Richard Fahey has two possibilities left in the Betfred Ebor which, at £285,000, is the richest flat handicap in Europe.
Suegioo, like Gabrial in the ownership of Dr Marwan Koukash and is one of the old favourites at Musley Bank. Experience of big days is a bonus and he has run in the race twice before, being placed two years ago under Martin Harley.
The yard’s other entry is Mustaaqeem. He arrived only recently from Sir Michael Stoute for whom I rode him twice, winning once at Doncaster.
The prospect of having a very good ride to bring the curtain down on four fabulous days on the Knavesmire does whet the appetite for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.