Time to have a soft spot for Yala Enki

Picture: Gareth Easton
Picture: Gareth Easton
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Yala Enki should have what it takes to deal with whatever Haydock throws at him in the ‘Tap Tap Boom’ ‘Fixed Brush’ Handicap Hurdle.

With the well-attended Grade Three likely to be a rare old struggle, only those with an aptitude for testing conditions can be shortlisted.

Enter stage right Yala Enki, whose soft-ground form in France neatly fulfils the criteria.

Now in training with Venetia Williams, the five-year-old son of Nickname – himself a hot-shot in the mud -– could not have looked much better at Exeter on November 3. Sent on his way at 4-1, Aidan Coleman’s companion made a sizeable leap forwards from a fair British debut at Uttoxeter by making all of the running en route to a 16-length triumph.

Heavy rain did not make life easy for any of the 14 runners – only five horses actually completed – but there was something really quite uplifting by the manner in which he embraced the challenge.

Twice a winner over fences in his homeland, Yala Enki should be ideally equipped to handle these unique obstacles, which always takes some doing.

His dissidents will point to a lack of experience for a race of this magnitude, which is fair enough, but, as such, the Williams horse gets in lightly at the bottom of the weights.

The lure of a £1m Triple Crown bonus as incentive for winning the Betfair Chase has rather backfired, but Silviniaco Conti can at least keep to his end of the deal.

Paul Nicholls’ six-times Grade One winner will seemingly never capture the public’s imagination whatever he does as his inability to show his true colours at Cheltenham remains the nine-year-old’s Achilles heel.

Haydock in the rain is, 
however, a tailor-made scenario for Silviniaco Conti, who has won this race twice before and swept aside any perceived 
rustiness with a pleasing spin over hurdles at Kempton recently.


12.20 The Boss’s Dream

12.55 Another Hero

1.30 Midnight Belle

2.05 Vautour

2.40 Brother Tedd

3.15 Fago

3.50 Bags Groove


12.10 Balmusette

12.40 Buachaill Alainn

1.15 Rock The Kasbah

1.50 Irving

2.25 Yala Enki (nap)

3.00 Silviniaco Conti

3.35 Vieux Lion Rouge


12.00 The Organist

12.30 Wolf Sword

1.05 Bleu Et Noir

1.40 Flute Bowl

2.15 Milgen Bay

2.50 Flemi Two Toes

3.25 Templeross


11.45 Long Island

12.15 Olympic Runner

12.50 Race Day

1.25 Exit Europe

2.00 Etaa

2.35 Assault On Rome

3.10 Snow Cloud

3.45 Stoic Boy


5.45 Space Artist

6.15 Rockley Point

6.45 Coherent

7.15 Illustration

7.45 Aqua Ardens

8.15 Naoise

8.45 Savvy

9.15 Broughtons Berry


Yala Enki

2.25 Haydock

Silviniaco Conti

3.00 Haydock