By Andrew Atkinson
Haydock Park stages a lucrative seven-race card worth nearly £400,000 on Saturday, July 6, featuring the £100,000 bet365 Old Newton Cup (3.15) and the G2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks (2.40).
The bet365 Old Newton Cup, which evolved from the Newton Gold Cup, first run in 1807, represents one of the last tangible links with the old racecourse on Newton Common, where horseracing took place from at least 1678, through to the move to the present course at Haydock Park in 1899.
The tradition and heritage of the race makes the Old Newton Cup an integral part of Lancashire’s racing history and the community.
Since the turn of the century, the famous handicap has seen top-class winners, including globetrotter Collier Hill (2003), a three-time G1 winner around the world, 2005 G1 Japan Cup victor Alkaased (2004) and Dangerous Midge, successful in the 2010 G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf just four months after an eight-length win at Haydock Park.
Middleham Park Racing, the UK’s most successful racehorse syndication company, captured the bet365 Old Newton Cup in 2016, with the David O’Meara-trained Tawdeea, and is targeting two runners at the handicap this year – the Mick Appleby-trained Star Of Southwold and Lexington Empire from David Lanigan’s stables.
The two in-form four-year-olds clashed in a 10-furlong Polytrack handicap at Chelmsford on June 20, with Star Of Southwold getting the better of Lexington Empire, by a head.
Star Of Southwold has since finished second in the Carlisle Bell handicap over a mile on June 26, under a 5lb penalty.
Lexington Empire, with only one previous appearance on turf, has progressed to become a very useful performer on the All-Weather. Rated 58, when winning his first race at Wolverhampton in July 2018, now rated 89, following three impressive successes.
Star Of Southwold (left) finishing second in the Carlisle Bell: photo courtesy Haydock Park.
Fillies and mares with G1 aspirations are likely to be on show in the G2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks, which has prize money of £93,000.
Newmarket trainer John Gosden has sent out the winner of four of the last eight renewals of the prestigious contest, most memorably with Great Heavens, who won by five lengths in 2012.
The daughter of Galileo backed up the success with an impressive victory in the G1 Irish Oaks. Other successes were The Black Princess (2017), Pomology (2014) and Gertrude Bell (2011).
Gosden has won the bet365 Lancashire Oaks seven times, with earlier victories by Playful Act (2005), Place Rouge (2003) and Squeak (1997).
Gosden and the late Henry Cecil are the joint most successful trainers in the Lancashire Oaks, which was first run at Haydock Park in 1965.
The G3 Betway Pinnacle Stakes over course and distance in early June often acts as a key trial for the G2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks.
This year, on testing ground, saw the William Haggas-trained Klassique turn over hot favourite True Self, trained by Willie Mullins, by three lengths, and the pair could re-oppose.
Three-year-old stayers go for a big prize in the £100,000 bet365 Handicap, the first race on Saturday’s card at 2.05pm, over a mile and three quarters.
Making Miracles led home a one-two for Yorkshire-based trainer Mark Johnston in 2018, the son of Pivotal has won twice in 2019, headlined by a six-length victory in the 2019 Chester Cup.
Last year’s runner-up Austrian School, a half-brother to dual Randox Health Grand National winner Tiger Roll, won the 2019 Queen’s Plate Heritage Handicap at Musselburgh and was a close third in the G3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park, behind stable companion Dee Ex Bee.
*Racing also takes place at Haydock Park on Thursday, July 4, Glass Times Raceday, and on Friday, July 5, July Tropicana Race Evening.
Image: Star Of Southwold (left) finishing second in the Carlisle Bell_photo courtesy Haydock Park.
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