Ascot & Haydock Racing on January 17th 2015

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Updated: January 19, 2015

Both race courses were hosting their first meets of 2015 the last being before Christmas (December 20th). The televised races covered by Channel 4 for British terrestrial viewers provided some excellent entertainment and excitement. At Ascot the going was soft and at Haydock it was heavy.

Ascot 1350: OLBG.com Mares Hurdle: Grade 2 Class 1: 4yo+ fillies&mares: Distance 3m: Fences 13: 9R

Winner: Bitofapuzzle 5/2 odds by ½ length over Second: Carole’s Spirit 11/4, Third: Land of Vic 11/2

At the first flight Bitofapuzzle travelling on the outside and Carole’s Spirit on the inside took to the front alongside Land of Vic. With 9 jumps to go these three horses remained at the head of the field with Molly’s a Diva in fourth and Cannon Fodder in fifth. Land of Vic began to fall back a couple of flights later as Carole’s Spirit remained stubbornly at the front, taking each obstacle with a heavy right hand leaning. The field was well grouped together with four to go with Jenny’s Surprise having travelled up to third beside Bitofapuzzle and Carole’s Spirit. Fairytale Theatre and Cannon Fodder completed the top five horses at this point. The leading two horses put on the accelerator with two fences remaining as Cannon Fodder showed signs of slowing down. Although Bitofapuzzle swayed in the home straight from all the exertion it remained ahead of Carole’s Spirit to secure victory. Land of Vic held on for third place despite running out of steam whilst Molly’s a Diva was pulled up toward the end of the race.

Haydock 1405: StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial: Grade 2 Class 1: 4yo+: Distance 2m: 7R

Winner: The New One 1/6 by 2 ¼ lengths over Second: Bertimont 8/1, Third: Strongpoint 16/1

The New One at full throttle. Image credit @PA_Sport_Pics

The New One at full throttle. Image credit @PA_Sport_Pics

For a lot of the race Got the Nac was at the head of the field with around a twelve length advantage over The New One and Strongpoint with 4 fences left. With half a mile to go the margin had reduced to about eight to ten lengths. The New One made a bad mistake at the third last flight but managed to recover before increasing speed and eating up the ground. At the last jump Bertimont and The New One jumped virtually together before The New One displayed a turn of foot and pace to romp home first.

Ascot 1425: Keltbray Holloway’s Hurdle: Grade 2 Class 1: 4yo+: Distance 2m 3 ½ f: Fences 11: 8R

Winner: Baradari 11/2 odds by a neck over Second: Lyvius 11/2, Third: Le Mercurey 9/2

Baradari a cool looking Keltbray winner. Image credit @Channel4Racing

Baradari a cool looking Keltbray winner. Image credit @Channel4Racing

The front three with seven jumps remaining were Rayvin Black, Abracadabra Sivola and Garde La Victoire with Lyvius at the back. As the track course swung away from the grandstand Le Mercurey had travelled up to fourth alongside the front three. Lyvius was showing signs of making up ground and Rayvin Black appeared to be increasing its stride length. Four out and Abracadabra Sivola was feeling the pace, Lyvius was picking things up nicely and Garde La Victoire had a narrow advantage over Le Mercurey and Rayvin Black. At the last flight Lyvius jumped strongly ahead of Baradari in second place a half length behind. It looked at this point to be an assured win for Lyvius but down the home straight Baradari battled on to provide a breath taking finish and gained a narrow margin victory.

 Haydock 1440: Racing UK 1 Price 3 Devices Graduation Chase: Class 2: 5yo+: Distance 2m 5f: Fences 16: 6R

Winner: Mwaleshi 9/1 by 7 lengths over Second: Maggio 12/1, Third: Little Glenshee 16/1

Mwaleshi and Carraig Mor took the initiative at the start of the race. With ten flights to go Third Intention was a faller. Maggio joined the front two horses ahead of the two greys in the field Wings of Smoke and Little Glenshee lagging about seven lengths behind. The first of the greys was about fifteen lengths behind the front group with three quarters of a mile left to run and five jumps. As Mwaleshi and Maggio forged ahead Carraig Mor came under pressure and shortly after seemed to stop running led legged. Wings of Smoke and Little Glenshee in last place were about twenty lengths behind the leaders. Mwaleshi and Maggio took the last obstacle together and Mwaleshi kept up a good running pace toward the line to win by a good margin. Maggio looked more laboured in the home straight and literally just hung on for second place by about a short head, as Little Glenshee came out of nowhere to close in fast.

Ascot 1500: Sodexo Clarence House Chase: Grade 1 Class 1: 5yo+: Distance 2m 1f: Fences 13: 5R

Winner: Dodging Bullets 7/2 odds by 3 lengths over Second: Sprinter Sacre 4/6, Third: Twinlight 6/1

Dodging Bullets (white noseband) forges ahead of Sprinter Sacre. Image credit @Channel4Racing

Dodging Bullets (white noseband) forges ahead of Sprinter Sacre. Image credit @Channel4Racing

Somersby and Twinlight took to the front from the start with Dodging Bullets and Sprinter Sacre holding a steady third and fourth spot respectively. Grey Gold came at the rear of the field and looked more detached from the others with eight to go. Somersby at the front held a four to five length advantage at this point over Twinlight, Dodging Bullets and Sprinter Sacre. With five hurdles remaining Sprinter Sacre had made up enough ground to be within ¾ of a length of Dodging Bullets and Twinlight. An excellent jump at the next hurdle brought Sprinter Sacre into second spot around three lengths off the leader. With Somersby fading it was left for Sprinter Sacre and Dodging Bullets to form the main challenge toward the line with two obstacles remaining. Going into the last Dodging Bullets had around a two length advantage over his rival and never looked in danger of losing the race. But it has to be remembered that Sprinter Sacre had been away from the track for 386 days with heart problems. His jockey Barry Geraghty rode a steady race and the horse showed signs of the sublime jumping that had earned him the nickname “The Black Aeroplane”. After the race it was found that Sprinter Sacre had suffered a minor nose bleed from his exertions.

Haydock 1515: Peter Marsh Chase: Grade 2 Class 1: 5yo+: Distance 3m 1 f: Fences 16: 12R

Winner: Samstown 16/1 by a neck over Second: Benbens 13/2, Third: Vintage Star 7/1

The field formed a tightly packed bunch at the start with Samstown and Amigo taking an outside front position with Corrin Wood on the inside. When Man With Van unseated its rider with nine jumps to go around ten lengths separated the first and last horse. Shangani, Samstown and Green Flag had pole position with half the fences negotiated, but by this point Amigo had begun to fall back and was in last place with seven to go. In driving rain and poor visibility the race continued and with three obstacles remaining five horses were bunched together at the front. Vintage Star, Samstown, No Planning, Benbens and Toby Lerone were in contention. Samstown forged ahead of the pack taking a clear six to eight length advantage over the others. As Samstown gamely battled toward the finishing post Benbens rallied behind to rapidly close down the race leader in the final straight. A nail biting finish ended with Samstown just hanging on to secure victory by a neck.

Ascot 1535: bet365,com Handicap Chase: Class 2: 5yo+: Distance 2m 5 ½ f: Fences 17: 12R

Winner: Rebel Rebellion 12/1 by 1 ¼ lengths over Second: Fox Appeal 7/1, Third: East Lake 10/1

At the first flight Niceonefrankie landed just ahead of Bobcatbilly and Cedre Bleu. With a circuit to go and twelve fences remaining Rebel Rebellion had taken Bobcatbilly’s place. Cloudy Bob took up the rear with ten to go, whilst Niceonefrankie at the front kept a two length advantage over Cedre Bleu, Rebel Rebellion and Bobcatbilly. Eight from home and King Edmund was out of the race having suffered a fatal injury. Cedre Bleu was out of contention with five jumps left as Rebel Rebellion took to the front. Eastlake travelling smoothly throughout the race was now in second place at this point. Going into the last, Rebel Rebellion had a clear three length advantage over the duelling Fox Appeal and Eastlake.

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