Silvestre De Sousa and Godolphin continued their fine run of form by teaming up successfully in Saturday’s richest race, the 2012 running of the Talk To Victor Rose of Lancaster Stakes.

Hunter’s Light, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, had been nibbled at in the betting and scored by two lengths. He has been in form all season and this Group 3 represented a step down in class. He travelled ominously well and was sent into the lead over two furlongs out. De Sousa didn’t ask his mount for anything until a furlong from home, by which point he had kicked clear. The four year-old won with plenty in hand. Hot favourite Jet Away travelled well enough but couldn’t bridge the gap that the winner had created, eventually running home for a comfortable second.

Gabrial, a classy type much fancied for the race, didn’t appear to see out the trip all that well. Richard Fahey’s runner was third, but the Malton trainer gained revenge in the British Stallion Studs Dick Hern E.B.F. Fillies’ Stakes. Ladys First put in perhaps the gutsiest display of her career, winning the race by just under a length. She made all, but was joined and strongly pressed from two furlongs out. It looked as though the well supported Dank would come by inside the furlong, but Ladys First held on really well and registered her first triumph since winning on debut in July last year.

Although Dank couldn’t give Ryan Moore a winner, the ex-Champion jockey managed to register a double at Haydock Park. Gospel Choir won the Levy Board Handicap and looks every inch a stayer. He took some time to get going up the straight, but repelled the consistent and determined challenge of Stencive. Both of those horses should be kept on the right side of.

Later on, Opinion showed improvement in form to land the Handicap, giving Moore his brace. A popular winner, the Highclere Thoroughbred owned colt defied the widest draw and defeated outsider Fork Handles, who was also putting in an improved effort.

The John Budworth Hughes Memorial Nursery was the opening race of the day and top course trainer Tom Dascombe got on the board at the earliest opportunity. Barracuda Boy, ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, was always prominent and ran on best to score by over a length. The Taj finished second and will improve upped in trip, whilst Mandy Layla ran well back at the shortest trip.

A day at Haydock would not be complete without a winner for Jamie Spencer, but the Irishman had to wait until the very last event before he got his head in front. Postscript, who has been ultra consistent, won again over course and distance and defeated favourite Famous Poet, who was bidding to give De Sousa a treble. Lucky Henry was anything but his name, being bumped, hampered and finally switched when attempting to challenge in the closing stages. He ran on well for third and could gain compensation next time.

Haydock’s biggest flat race of the year is the Sprint Cup and the Betfred Sprint Cup Festival gets underway on September 6th.

James Muir

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