Constable routs his Haydock Park rivals

All smiles with John Constable in the winner's enclosure

All smiles with John Constable in the winner's enclosure

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It was billed as being ultra-competitive, but the £60,000 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Haydock turned out anything but as the well-backed John Constable turned the race into a veritable procession.

The Evan Williams-trained six-year-old made a mockery of the handicap ratings as he sauntered home by a staggering 14 lengths under a canny, patient ride by Davy Russell.

Fergall made an early move in the straight to try and dominate, but looked beaten when he came down at the last - meantime, Russell was biding his time on the 5-1 favourite John Constable and he showed the rest of his rivals a clean pair of heels to dart clear with the rest left to struggle in his wake.

It was consolation for connections as the horse who had taken a heavy fall over hurdles at the Aintree Grand National meeting.

It took him some time to recover from the tumble, but trainer Evan Williams was so pleased with the horse's subsequent well-being that he even considered running the horse earlier in the week on the flat in the Chester Cup.

However, John Constable was ballotted out of that, but any disappointment at missing out was quickly quelled as John Constable, in a first-time tongue-tie, came good over timber in such emphatic style in the Swinton.

Williams said: "John Constable is a spring horse. He comes into his own at this time of the year - in the winter it is as if he is hibernating!"

It was left to the rest to battle for minor hours with Optimus Prime the runner-up in the Swinton ahead of Great Fighter and Court Minstrel in third and fourth,

Godolphin appear to have a live Investec Derby contender after Best Solution ran out a wide-margin winner of the Betfred-sponsored Trial at Lingfield.

Winner of the Group Three Autumn Stakes last year for Saeed bin Suroor, Best Solution (7-1) had disappointed in two subsequent outings in Dubai over the winter.

However, he appeared to appreciate the return to turf as he outpointed his rivals, including Aidan O'Brien's hot favourite Sir John Lavery, by upwards of three and a quarter lengths.

No winner of the Lingfield Oaks Trial as gone on to win the fillies' Classic at Epsom since Ramruma in 1999 and that trend will be extended for another year after Hertford Dancer landed the Betfred Mobile Oaks Trial Fillies' Stakes.

The John Gosden-trained daughter of Foxwedge, whose sole previous win came in a Wolverhampton all-weather maiden in December, stayed on stoutly to score by a length and a half from Pocketfullofdreams.