Well what a weekend of racing that was! Kauto Star jumping his younger rivals into the ground at Haydock eclipsed everything else and further cemented his legendary status in the National Hunt game. If the powers that be don’t take advantage of L’Extraterrestre’s heroics this weekend to promote our great sport to the wider world then they will be missing the greatest marketing gift they are likely to receive for a long long time.
Lest we forget, however, there was plenty of other action taking place over the weekend and here are just 3 horses that caught my eye –
WYSE HILL TEABAGS (J Goldie) – 2nd in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at Haydock – 12.50 Saturday
A battling performance on seasonal debut from Jim Goldie’s 6yo hurdler and the ding-dong battle down the Haydock home-straight with the high class ANY GIVEN DAY was pleasing to watch. A strong field lined up for this Class 2 event but a majority of them struggled to lay a finger on the front-running WYSE HILL TEABAGS. His hurdling record to date reads 3-1-3-1-3-2 and on this performance (he recorded his best RPR to date and his best Proform speed figure) its safe to say he is still on the up and there is still more improvement to come. There is stamina in his pedigree and it will be interesting to see if Goldie steps him up in trip next time out as I would certainly be more interested in him going over 3 miles than I would be if he were to step back to 2 miles.
DIOCLES (D McCain) – 3rd in the Class 4 Bumper at Haydock – 1.20 Saturday
There was plenty of interest in this fella beforehand due to his debut bumper victory last December (an 8 length romp on the All-Weather at Southwell) and although carrying a penalty here against some eye-catching debutants he still ran a very solid race. He didn’t do his cause any good in the early stages by pulling hard so the fact he was still in there pitching when push came to shove was greatly encouraging. I imagine the freshness will have been blown away after that run and he looks an exciting recruit to the hurdling game, assuming that is his next stop.
KILLYGLEN (S Crawford) – 3rd in the 3m handicap chase at Haydock – 3.40 Saturday
One assumes the National is his seasonal target so one must also assume that connections had left plenty to work on going into this race. Judging by his tame finishing effort I can’t believe he was 100% wound up for this as he certainly would not have lacked for stamina and its not as if he was on an unfavourable handicap mark (far from it in-fact). He travelled and jumped supremely well here and for a moment turning for home he looked to have slipped the field, however, his effort petered out fairly quickly and this again brings me to the assumption he was far from ‘cherry ripe’ for this task; why would you be when the ultimate aim is the Aintree Grand Nationasl in April? For a 9yo the Presenting gelding is relatively lightly raced (this was only his 13th chase start) but we shouldn’t forget he is a Grade 2 winning animal from his novice days (over the Aintree Mildmay fences), he was running a huge race in last years National before tipping up 4 out and he is on a very favourable handicap mark (5lbs lower than the mark he ran off in last years National). It will be interesting to see how he is campaigned from now until April…….
What was your take on the weekends action?
Did any horses catch your eye and go in the notebooks?
Drop a comment below and let me know.