Luis Vaz De Torres produced a career-best effort when landing the £20,000 Shawbrook Bank Handicap at Musselburgh last night.
Richard Fahey’s 6-1 chance beat front-running Glengarry by three quarters of a length and winning jockey Paul Hanagan said: “He did well because we were pushed into the middle of the track and he really battled back. You can’t knock his temperament as he’s found plenty for pressure.”
The former champion jockey and Fahey had earlier initiated a double with Aimez La Vie, who pipped Cheerfilly by a short head in the racinguk.com Maiden Stakes.
Sebastian’s Wish made it three from three since joining Keith Dalgleish when making all in the Racing UK Now In HD Handicap.
After he had ridden the 5-2 favourite to an emphatic six-length success, jockey Joe Fanning said: “I wasn’t planning to make it but he handled the bends well for a big horse. He did it well and is a decent type for races over 1m 4f to 1m 6f.”
At Haydock today, Washington DC looks as safe a play as anything in a puzzling renewal of the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes.
The Grade Two pivots around Quiet Reflection, the dual Group One winner who should be a cut above if there is dig in the ground.
There is rain forecast, but probably not enough to sufficiently please both the horse and her trainer, who is set to make a late call on the filly’s participation. To that end, Washington DC narrowly wins the vote for Aidan O’Brien, pictured, who is hardly a regular on Merseyside.
The Zoffany colt has never won a Group race, but he made some encouraging progress last year, having finished second to Marsha in the Prix de l’Abbaye and third behind Quiet Reflection in the Commonwealth Cup. And from what we have seen so far this season, Washington DC appears to have taken another step in the right direction.
The four-year-old won snugly on his return at Navan in April and was then pitched into battle in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, when the Abbaye form was emphatically franked.
Washington DC had the rest of the field, a good chunk of which run in the Temple Stakes, well cooked that day, but he could not live with Marsha, who looks a bit of superstar.
That is good form by anyone’s standards and tends to suggest O’Brien has found a niche for him over a brisk five furlongs.
The suspicion remains he is not quite good enough to win Group Ones, so his trainer will be keen to kick on in races like this.
Punters are advised not to give up on Brian The Snail in the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes.
Richard Fahey adores this horse, but it all went wrong at York when he finished last of five in a Listed race. His trainer was bemused by that performance, but there were one or two funny results on the Knavesmire last week so it is good to see him rise from above the parapet at Haydock.
Brian The Snail had won his first three races in the manner of a horse going places in a bit of a rush, so it is not yet inconceivable to see him take a hand in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot if all goes to plan in this Group Two.
The return to six furlongs should also be viewed upon as a positive.
Dal Harraild is in with a smashing chance of winning the Grand Cup at York.
The fast-ground-loving four-year-old chestnut must give away weight to the field, but he is a very sharp horse at this grade and will be much fitter than on his return to the fray at Newbury in April. Dal Harraild will be having his first stab over a mile and three-quarters but he has done enough over middle distances to suggest he will stay.
William Haggas and Paul Hanagan have worked well together over the years so it is interesting to see the two-time champion jockey receive the leg-up.
Goodwood also stages a fine card, with Second Step taken to cut loose in the Listed Tapster Stakes.
The six-year-old gelding was an eyecatcher on his first outing for seven months in the John Porter at Newbury when he finished a close-enough third behind the impressive Muntahaa.
He was a little pinched for room close home, which will not have helped, but new trainer Roger Charlton must have been delighted.
There are more good races to be won with Second Step, who, lest we forget, was a Group One winner in Germany for Luca Cumani.