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Five things we learnt on Saturday: Angel adds to Commonwealth games

Sat 27 May 2017

From Harry Angel's track record-breaking run at Haydock to Peter Bowen at Cartmel, Tom Peacock rounds-up the Saturday undercard action from our racecourses.

By Tom Peacock

Angel adds to the Commonwealth games:

It does not take much to upset the traditionalists and there was considerable angst when the Commonwealth Cup was added to the Royal Ascot programme in 2015.

Yes, it can take some shine off other events such as the Jersey Stakes, even the St James’s Palace, and means fewer three-year-olds will be pitched into the King’s Stand. There is also the wider question of whether such an event benefits the breed. Yet, once again, the newcomer looks as if it could well be one of the best races at the meeting.

Harry Angel had still looked a little wayward in conceding weight for a narrow beating by Blue Point in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot, and demonstrated what a high-class sprinter he is by turning the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes, taken last year by Commonwealth scorer Quiet Reflection, into a very one-sided event.

It is a tantalising prospect to see what will happen when he takes on not only Blue Point again, but Aidan O’Brien’s Caravaggio, who showed blistering speed in winning at Naas last week.

Harraild stars for red-hot Haggas:

Dal Harraild had been something of a slow-burner before his admirable victory in the weddingmates.co.uk Grand Cup at York.

The gelding rounded off last season by taking a Newmarket Listed race and it was no mean feat to concede a 3lb penalty against a decent field on the Knavesmire, let alone pulling three-and-a-half lengths clear of them. 

That he remains in training at four with William Haggas is enough of a suggestion that he believes Dal Harraild has untapped potential and he has given him some quite tasty entries already this summer - he is in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, and the Harwicke Stakes at the same meeting.

Haggas will be most encouraged that he showed no signs of stopping on his first try at a mile and three-quarters, opening up the possibility that he could be a two-mile Cup horse later on in the campaign. Skybet and Betbright are still 33-1 about the Gold Cup, whereas Bet365 and Ladbrokes are as short as 14-1.

Kingscote reigns at Haydock:

Richard Kingscote was in irresistible form at Haydock, supplementing his three-timer on Friday by carrying on in the first two on Saturday.

If not obviously fashionable, the jockey has been impressing with thorough and skilful performances for some time now and the restrained effort in the Amix Ready Mixed Concrete Handicap on Yorkidding and the front-running ride on Rusumaat in the Amix Silver Bowl Handicap were perfect showcases of his talent

Kingscote has ridden reasonably frequently for Mark Johnston but the trainer will have been delighted as he rode the latter in particular with exactly the tactics he tends to favour, in uncomplicated style from the front. 

While the jockey has maintained a long association with Tom Dascombe, expect him to pick up a few more spares for Johnston’s powerful Middleham stable. 

Appleby’s two-year-olds continue to fly:

Charlie Appleby will have a pleasant task in the next couple of weeks as he sifts through what seems to be a never-ending supply of two-year-old winners.

Godolphin’s trainer has been successful with seven of his nine to have hit the track so far, with Masar earning encouraging reviews at Goodwood on Friday and Zaman becoming the latest in the Yorkshire Regiment British EBF Novice Median Auction Stakes at York on Saturday.

Unsurprisingly for an 160,000 guineas breeze-up purchase, this Dutch Art colt knew his job and looked comfortable for the entire six furlongs. Appleby has a handful more juvenile debutants entered next week, and they will clearly be worth watching.

Bowen maintains family value:

The Bowen dynasty celebrated another notable achievement before the weather dampened the Cartmel funfair as teenage rider James picked up his first winner under Rules.

Trainer Peter is well-known for sending out winners quite literally the length and breadth of the country from his base in Pembrokeshire and his son, Sean, has became champion conditional jockey and is an important part of the Paul Nicholls stable.

As Sean was claiming pony racing titles, so too was James in a younger age group and he has been steadily picking up experience as an amateur rider.

He looked polished aboard the family’s Curious Carlos, possibly not the easiest of partners, in the Swan Hotel & Spa "Confined" Handicap Hurdle, and should be good value for his 7lb claim.

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