King's Lynn wins the Temple Stakes
King's Lynn wins the Temple Stakes

Haydock Saturday review: El Caballo lands Sandy Lane


A review of the action from Saturday's meeting at Haydock where El Caballo claimed a sixth straight win in the Cazoo Sandy Lane Stakes.

Lynn books Royal Ascot trip

King’s Lynn booked his Royal Ascot ticket and provided jockey David Probert with a Haydock treble when prevailing in the Group Two Temple Stakes. The Andrew Balding-trained gelding was a 5/1 chance for the five-furlong sprint and struck from the outer of the track to take up the lead with a furlong remaining.

From there the bay, who is owned by the Queen, began to pull away from the bulk of the field and just held off a strong-finishing Twilight Calls by a head.

King’s Lynn has been cut to 14/1 for the King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting as a result and is likely to head in that direction come June.

“A really great result. Thrilled for the horse – he is a star!” said Balding, speaking from Goodwood. “It is all eyes on Royal Ascot, hopefully. Most likely the King’s Stand, but it is a conversation we will have nearer the time.

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“He obviously is in the Platinum Jubilee and we put him in the Wokingham, just in case things didn’t work out today and we needed another avenue, but obviously that won’t be the case. He (Probert) gave him a great ride. It was excellent.”

Jake Warren, representing the Queen, added: “He’s run a blinder and he’s been a really consistent horse through two, three, four and now five. He’s in great shape and condition and handled it really well, so it’s an amazing result for Her Majesty. It’s wonderful to have a result like this for her and it’s the beginning of an exciting year.”

Henry Candy, trainer of the second-placed Twilight Calls, said: “He’s getting better. He loves really rattling fast ground, but you can’t blame the ground today. He wasn’t totally lucky in-running, but take nothing away from the winner. Adam (Kirby) said the faster they go the better and I think if Wesley Ward appears at Ascot, that shouldn’t be a problem. They go a million miles an hour (in the King’s Stand) and hopefully it will be firm ground as well.”

Tim Easterby, trainer of the 7/2 favourite Winter Power, who finished eighth, said: “She slipped a little bit coming out of the stalls, but David (Allan) was quite happy with her and she travelled well and he said he just thought she might’ve needed this to put her right.

“I remember when she was two and we were trying to get her ready her for Ascot, you just can’t naturally get her ready early. She’ll go to Ascot, but we might have a look at somewhere else first.”

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Cox eyes Britannia

Whoputfiftyinyou (6/1) maintained his unbeaten record with a thrilling win in the Cazoo Silver Bowl Handicap.

The valuable pot looked destined to go the way of 13/8 favourite Mighty Ulysees as he sauntered to the front - and went two lengths clear - with a quarter of a mile to run.

However Probert was busy delivering the winner's late challenge and his turn of foot carried him past his rival, to win by half-a-length. The pair were five-and-a-half lengths clear of Outgate in third.

Winning trainer Clive Cox revealed after the race that he was now eyeing up the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot for his charge.

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He said: “That was very impressive, we were concerned enough on the turn when he did just lose his footing and he dropped the bridle totally for a bit, but he’s clearly very talented. We’ve always witnessed that really impressive turn of foot he’s got and he had to do that. He almost got there easily in the end, so I was astonished.

“He’s a very laid back type and it’s a great characteristic to have. He’s just done what he’s had to and while it hasn’t been a big surprise he’s kept astonishingly well and that was a big step to take today. I’m delighted for Paul and Clare Rooney and it is nice when you get those horses.

“We’ll keep taking it a step at a time, but we’d be hoping that he’s a Britannia horse. We said we’d go there if he won this and there’d be no reason to change that really, but we’ll see.”

Forge leaves it late

Probert initied his treble by partnering Valley Forge (4/1 favourite) to a last-gasp win in the Cazoo Hell Nook Handicap.

It looked unlikely when Golden Flame went two lengths clear going into the final furlong but the winner knuckled down well to get there in the final strides.

The jockey said: “We travelled really well into the race and as we were going through the motions my whip kind of went missing for a stride or two so I just had to gather him and he recollected himself really well.

“He’s seen the extra two furlongs out really well today and he’s shown previously that he’s got ability when winning the Melrose at York last year. Conditions aren’t too much of a worry so he’s a lovely horse who’s progressing well and hopefully there’s more to come. Now he’s seen the trip out well I suppose there will be a few more options opening up for us.”

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Six of the best for Caballo

El Caballo (7/2) made it six wins on the bounce when coming out on top in the Cazoo Sandy Lane Stakes.

Karl Burke's charge was well supported in midweek for the Group Two contest and showed great tenacity having been off the bridle with two furlongs to run.

However answering every one of Clifford Lee's calls he was in front inside the distance and held off the renewed challenge of Flaming Rib (11/2) by a neck.

Wings Of War was a late closer in third.

Betfair and Paddy Power cut the winner to 7/1 from 10s for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

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Burke said: “I wasn’t concerned about the ground but he’s had to go and prove it in that class. He’s a very good horse and he’s tough too. If you go back and watch the Good Friday race at Newcastle we didn’t want to be in-front or upsides and he’s run with the choke out for three furlongs.

“That’s a hard thing to do to carry on and quicken again like he did that day, so we knew that with a lead and relaxing early –we’ve seen it at home – that he’d pick up and he’d really bounce home.

“It’ll probably be different ground at Ascot but as long as it’s not rattling I’d be happy. I said this morning that whatever wins this race today will certainly be one of the favourites for Ascot.”

Scott delight with Colinton

The opening race was the Cazoo Florida Handicap which saw the rapidly improving Colinton (11/2) strike in-front of the ITV cameras for the Scottish Borders-based Katie Scott team.

The four year old was lining up off an 18lbs higher mark than for his first start at the beginning of the year though he still looked to have plenty of scope about him, slowly wearing away at the front-running Carlos Felix for a one length success – his fourth of the year already.

And winning trainer Katie Scott was thrilled with the performance. She said: “He’s a super tough little cookie. He’s gone up 18lbs in the handicap this year, so today was a case of finding out if he’s a Saturday horse and he’s done it in fine style.

“I think he’s caught his owners a bit by surprise as he’s not really bred to stay so he was probably handicapped for the wrong trip, which left him well treated when he moved into the staying division. We didn’t expect him to win that so we’ll go home and see what the handicapper says on Tuesday and make a plan for him.”

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