Society Rock returned to winning ways with a brave display in the Betfred Sprint Cup. James Fanshawe’s five year-old was a popular winner of Haydock’s premier flat race and was winning his second Group One after the Golden Jubilee of last year. Indeed this was his first triumph since and connections would always have been hopeful, following Society Rock’s fine fifth to Black Caviar in this year’s Jubilee.

Recently, Society Rock has lost his winning chance at the start, rearing in the stalls and anticipating the break too early. That wasn’t the case today and jockey Kieren Fallon had him poised in midfield throughout before asking for more. They took the lead at the furlong pole and stayed on best. Irish raider Gordon Lord Byron emerged as the chief danger with a furlong to go, but couldn’t quite get by the winner towards the finish. Bated Breath finished third but had every chance in the closing stages and will have to seek a first elusive Group One another day. Australian mare Ortensia was sent off favourite, but didn’t really look dangerous and only beat Es Que Love home.
Fallon went on to complete a double in the very next race, the Betfred Mobile Lotto Old Borough Cup Handicap. He was aboard Sir Graham Wade for Mark Johnston and this race produced a fantastic finish despite being a messy affair. The winner was short of room when trying to challenge and was also hampered before having to be switched right. Fallon dropped his whip close to the line but still managed to get the three year-old up in the dying strides. Tropical Beat looked the winner entering the final furlong, having made relentless headway on the outside. However, he didn’t find enough towards the finish and had to settle for second. Blue Bajan finished in fourth but looked unlucky – travelling by far the best but short of room for over a furlong.

Trainer Mark Johnston also enjoyed a double and Courtesy Call was a determined winner of the concluding Play Rainbow Riches At Betfred Handicap. The gelding was bouncing back to form after a poor display in the Melrose at York’s Ebor meeting, but this was his fifth winner so far this season and he looks to be improving still.

Havana Gold held off a late surge from Al Waab in the opening Betfred ‘Still Treble Odds On Lucky 15’s’ Stakes and was the first leg of a double for Richard Hughes, who is continuing to strengthen his grip on the jockey’s championship. The race only had six runners but all six have Group One entries later in the year and it may pay to follow Richard Hannon’s two year-old.

In fact it was the other two year-old race that Hughes completed his brace in. Top weight Baddilini was the most experienced runner and had to make that experience count in the Betfred ‘Bonus King Bingo’ Nursery. He was another who endured a troubled run, but was on top by a length at the line, defeating outsider Blue Lotus.

Racing returns to Haydock at the end of the month, with action on the 28th and 29th September.

James Muir

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