16:00 Haydock – The Temple Stakes
Previous top class winners in recent years include the likes of Kingsgate Native, Sole Power and Airwave to name but a few. Throw in to the mix the proverbial bridesmaid Borderlescott (two 2nds and a 3rd) and you start to see just how prestigious a race the Temple Stakes is.
The past two renewals have seen trainer Clive Cox claim victories with separate horses (Priceless in 2017 and Profitable in 2016) both for owner and Chelsea Vice-Chairman Alan Spence. Unfortunately the Cox and Spence combination can’t make it three in a row with no entry this time around but can we see a future sprinting superstar announce themselves on the big stage? Quite simply, yes!
All the talk antepost has been about the ever progressive Group 1 winner Battaash and just like a runaway freight train, as we approach race time, confidence in the horse doesn’t look likely to come to a halt. Victorious in the illustrious Prix de l’Abbaye race in France when last seen on a racecourse he demolished the opposition that day and gave the indication that his best is still yet to come.
It’s very rare to see a three year old come out on top in major sprint races so the horses achievements last term certainly stand head and shoulders above what today’s rivals have done so far. More than likely to go off as a short priced favourite backing him won’t return anything close to a lottery win but he’s favourite for a reason and although it’s probably a curse to say it out loud he looks somewhat unbeatable.
His nearest market rival is likely to be Kachy who put in a very encouraging performance at Chester to win by a staggering nine lengths. A classy horse who hails from the yard of Tom Dascombe who is on fire at the moment but it’s fair to say that the five year old has flattered to deceive when racing at the highest level. Fifth in this race last year Kachy clearly deserves his spot in the lineup but many trained eyes feel he prefers to go round a bend and today’s conditions aren’t likely to play to his strengths.
Another horse that competed in this race last year is Take Cover. He finished in the middle of the pack in last seasons renewal and although he seemed to have somewhat of a renaissance at the end of 2017 I expect the best we can hope for is minor money.
If we were going solely off the form shown last season then Havana Grey would be well and truly in the thick of calculations however a disappointing return to action earlier this month has moved him down the pecking order.
The competitor that seems somewhat of an unknown quantity actually beat the aforementioned Havana Grey at Newmarket most recently and Mabs Cross aims to continue on her upwards trajectory. A winner of five of her last six starts its fair enough to say she’s not raced against opposition of this calibre yet so she’ll need to improve markedly once more. That being said this lightly raced four year old has done nothing but progress from race to race and if she can make the huge leap forward she’ll need may give the favourite a few questions to answer.
The other horse that seems the biggest threat to our selection is the ultra-consistent Muthmir. At the age of eight he is turning into somewhat of a sprinting veteran who has competed at the highest level for a number of years. A multiple Group 2 winner who clearly knows what it takes to win a race like this but his form at Haydock is a major worry.
A very competitive race is how I’d describe this, the 54th running of the Temple Stakes, that’s if Battaash wasn’t in the lineup. With the formidable four year old set to enter the stalls however, despite having to carry a 5lbs penalty, it should be a procession that shows to the rest of his fellow speed demons that he’s going to be well and truly at the forefront of the sprinting division in 2018.
BATTAASH (WIN) – NAP
13:55 Goodwood – Algometer (WIN)
14:15 Haydock – The Grand Visir (E/W)
14:30 Goodwood – Neola (E/W)
14:50 Haydock – Crack On Crack On (E/W)
15:05 York – Mam’Selle (WIN)
15:25 Haydock – Heartache (WIN)
15:40 York – Carlton Frankie (E/W)
written by Rory Paddock