Hathal (silver jacket) keeps on strongly to prevail at a murky Haydock
PICTURE: John Grossick racingpost.com/photos
By Tony McFadden 3:03PM 3 SEP 2016
Report: Haydock, Saturday
32Red Mile (Registered as the Superior Mile) Group 3, 1m
HATHAL showed a willing attitude under pressure to fend off Mitchum Swagger and make a winning return to action under Frankie Dettori.
It was a first Group-race success for Hathal, who had not been seen on a racecourse since he won at Listed level on his final start last season.
In-form trainer William Haggas clearly had Hathal plenty fit enough on his belated return, however, as the four-year-old bravely stuck to his task in the rain-softened conditions to defy Mitchum Swagger by a head, with Convey, who had ploughed a lone furrow down the centre of the home straight, a further neck back in third.
“He’s just had niggly problems and William has taken it easy with him,” said Alison Begley, representing owners Al Shaqab Racing.
“He is probably best with a bit of cut in the ground. He is a nice horse and it’s been thought that a race like the QEII would suit, so that will probably be the target.”
Hathal has been cut to 25-1 (from 40-1) for the Group 1 QEII Stakes, which takes place over a mile at Ascot on Champions Day. Richard Fahey’s Ribchester heads the market at 11-4.
Also at Haydock
32Red Casino Handicap 1m6f, 3yo+
Promising 7lb apprentice Clifford Lee was seen to great effect aboard Intense Tango as he made all the running on Karl Burke’s mare to win this prestigious handicap, formerly known as the Old Borough Cup.
Lee and Intense Tango were desperate for the line as Montaly made good late headway, but the pair just held on to win by a head. Blue Rambler was two and a quarter lengths back in third while 9-2 favourite Magic Circle ran creditably to finish fourth.
Winning trainer Burke said: “We were worried about the ground. Paul [Gaffney, owner] follows the form closely and said we might get an easy lead here so we told Cliff to jump and don’t pull her around. She’s had wind issues and you don’t want to be pulling them around.
“The plan was to nick a couple of lengths off the bend and he’s given her a good ride.
“Cliff reminds me of a young Pat Eddery. He has beautiful hands and he is very relaxed on a horse and he gets them into a great rhythm. He has got a long way to go to emulate a jockey like him but he is a lad with a good future.
“He only needs two more winners to lose his 7lb claim so we will protect him a little for next year, I think he would have a good shot at the apprentice title.”