Gosden saddles rapid-fire Haydock double

Trainer John Gosden continued his domination of the bet365 Lancashire Oaks when The Black Princess showed courage and class to land the valuable Group Two prize at Haydock Park

Saturday, 8th July 2017, 6:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st August 2017, 3:34 pm
Zenon lands the opener at Haydock

It was the Newmarket trainer's seventh win in this prestigious fillies and mares prize at a packed Haydock crowd basking in the sun.

It was a quick-fire double for the stable after Zenon, also ridden by Robert Tart, won the opener on the Haydock card, the bet365 Handicap.

The Black Princess, a 3-1 chance arrived with a well-timed challenge inside the final furlong of the mile-and-a-half contest, fended off the challenge of the favourite Abingdon.

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The Black Princess prevailed by half-a-length, with Ajman Princess a length further back in third, with another Gosden filly Hertford Dancer in fourth.

Tony Proctor, travelling head lad at the Gosden yard, said of the winner: "She looked as good as we thought she was today.

"She has done nothing wrong since she has been with us. All the ability has been there, it has just been a question of her maturing mentally."

Tart said of The Black Princess: "She did it nicely. She's got a lot of guts and is very game. I was very pleased with her.

"This is my best day ever, Mr Gosden has given me a Group Three winner (Cunco, in the Sandown Classic Trial) and now a Group Two winner.

"I've been part-time with him for two and a half years and he's a gentleman."

The Gosden-Tart double was begun by Zenon, who overcame a scare during the race to run out a cosy winner.

Jockey Tart had an anxious moment when the Jcolt slipped on the bend, but the combination were soon back on an even keel and were able to put in a winning challenge at the end of the mile-and-three-quarter test.

Dominating had set sail for home, but had no answer to the late flourish of Zenon (7-2), who hit the front in the final half-furlong to score by a length and a half, to back up last month's Chesptow maiden win. Look My Way was a length away in third.

"He had to get into his stride again and he finished the race off very well," Proctor said.

"We ran him once as a two-year-old and Frankie (Dettori) loved him and he's just progressed."

Tart made a bold, ambitious bid to make it a three-time at Haydock in the historic bet365 Old Newton Cup, but is forcing tactics did not work the oracle.

He kicked for home a long way out on Farquhar in a bid to slip the field, but he was swallowed up by the chasing pack and it was t Dylan Mouth, the top-weight and a 25-1 outsider, who gained the day under Harry Bentley for another Newmarket trainer Marco Botti.

Dylan Mouth had won a Group One in Italy and had been placed in a couple of handicaps in Dubai in the spring, demonstrating that level of form in this red-hot Haydock handicap, drawing clear and putting the race to bed inside the final furlong.

Dyaln Mouth comfortably held fellow top weight Soldier In Action.

The latter took over the running from Farquhar and stuck to his task well when the pack closed in, with Big Country and Fabricate among those who threatened briefly to land the prize.

However, Bentley bided his time on Dylan Mouth and the six-year-old finished best of all.

Dylan Mouth pulled clear in the closing stages to score by two and a quarter lengths from Soldier In Action (9-1). Shraaoh (9-2 favourite) was a length and a quarter away in third with Blakeney Point (25-1) half a length back in fourth.

"He is a proper horse. He is rated 104 for a reason, but off top weight it was always a bit of a worry," jockey Bentley said afterwards.

"I was a bit further back than I wanted to be, but he's done it well. They went a decent gallop up front which suited us and I got a good run through. It all went well."

Trainer Mark Johnston's wife, Deirdre, responsible for Soldier In Action, said: "We've had four seconds in a row for Alan (Spence, owner) now.

"He was carrying the same weight as the winner and when he was headed I thought he'd be swallowed up, but he kept on. He's so genuine, so we're delighted."

The race of the day - the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park - was a thriller, with Ulysses just touching off Barney Roy in a battle royal to the line, which went to a photo finish.

There was an anxious wait for connections before Ulysses, the mount of Jim Crowley and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, was called the winner.

The 50-1 outsider Desert Encounter claimed third place in the first significant clash of the generations over a middle-distance.

A field of nine runners went to post with the betting dominated by the three-year-olds Barney Roy, Cliffs Of Moher and Eminent.

There was drama in the early stages as Derby runner-up and 7-4 favourite Cliffs Of Moher was tightened up on the rail and stumbled badly, losing vital ground in the process.

His pacemaker Taj Mahal led the field into the straight before giving way and Eminent and Decorated Knight battled their way towards the front.

However, first Barney Roy was delivered with his challenge before Ulysses arrived on the scene travelling powerfully in the hands of JCrowley.

Once given his head, the Ulysses found another gear to get to the front and looked set to win decisively, but Barney Roy had other ideas and roared back tenaciously.

The pair flew past the line almost as one, but the judge confirmed 8-1 shot Ulysses as the winner by a nose, the minimum margin.

Cliffs Of Moher was fourth.

Crowley had ridden Eminent on his previous four starts but was replaced by Silvestre de Sousa for this race, freeing him up to get back on board Ulysses, whom he steered to third place in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

"That was fantastic. It was great to get the ride on him and I'm very grateful to the owners and Sir Michael Stoute," said the champion jockey.

"I learned a lot from riding him last time. The race went really well today and when he got the front he thought he'd done enough. I cruised into the race and my only concern was getting there too soon.

"Fair play to the second, who came back at us, and I wasn't sure we'd won.

"It was a great feeling when they called it out."

Stoute, winning the Eclipse for the sixth time, said: "He's a very brave and admirable horse and so consistent.

"The only blip was in last year's Derby and he got turned over twice, so he had no chance in that.

"I wasn't confident he was going to win, but I was hopeful. I felt he was holding on. I wasn't at a good angle for the line so I didn't know, but a lot of people congratulated me.

"He's been to Santa Anita and he's been to Goodwood and he's very adaptable."

Asked about future plans, the trainer added: "Let's go home and see how he is in 10 days' time.

"I wouldn't rule out going back up to a mile and a half as he won the Gordon Stakes last year and ran a big race at Santa Anita (fourth in Breeders' Cup Turf).

"He's not as keen this year and settles better, so he'll get a mile and a half."

Barney Roy's rider, James Doyle, was proud of his mount's performance, on what was a first try at 10 furlongs for the St James's Palace Stakes winner.

He said: "It was a messy race early and we were on top of each other a bit. Ryan (Moore, on Cliffs Of Moher) got hampered down on the inside, but this track isn't ideal for young horses.

"We actually had a lovely run round. He was a little bit green on the track, but he turned into the straight nicely and I thought we'd win.

"Ulysses jumped on us quick and I thought we were definitely beat and then he's rallied back in the last 50 yards.

"In another stride I think we'd have got there, but full credit to him, he's run a stormer."

His trainer Richard Hannon said: "He is good horse and he is getting better. We are delighted, he has run a super race. He was just shade unlucky. I'm very proud of him and the team, it was a good effort. He is a brave horse and he is only a baby.

"It was just bad luck. I don't normally believe in luck, but I do now. He will be a very good middle-distance horse for this year and next year. He is in a lot of good races.

"He is still quite inexperienced, but he has run a super race all things considered. He has come back from Ascot - he had a hard race there but he has still come out and run his race here."