Saturday, as always, was a hectic day of racing. The weather made things tricky for all involved and Newmarket particularly suffered from after the second race, with the ground seemingly more or less waterlogged. Windsor, Chester and Newcastle on the tapeta all held afternoon cards with Lingfield (AW) and Doncaster holding evening racing. The biggest races were found in Ireland, where HARZAND completed the English and Irish Derby double at the Curragh for Dermot Weld. The ground made things hard to judge at most tracks and there were unfortunately a host of non-runners across all cards.
5 20 HARZAND (D Weld) 4/6, Group 1 (3YO), 1M4F, Good to Yielding
There is only one place to start and HARZAND’s performance is impossible to ignore, becoming only the 17th horse to complete the double. His first Derby win was labelled incredibly brave and this was no different, although 1/2 L does not appear to be much of a win, HARZAND had lots more to offer if it was needed I feel. Dermot Weld believes he needs a break, before they will target the Arc towards the end of the season.
3 20 NATIONS ALEXANDER (R Hannon) 8/1, Listed (2YO) Fillies, 6F, Heavy
Although the ground at Newmarket turned it into somewhat of a farce, this race was just about completed before things became too much of a slog. Despite a lot of the stronger 2YO’s still recovering from Ascot, this was still a very competitive race with lots of strong form as trainers were looking for some early black type. NATIONS ALEXANDER broke her maiden tag and Hannon was pleased to do it in such a competitive race. She seemed to enjoy the ground and Hannon thinks there is more to come. This result also really boosts the form of NASIMI and FAIR EVA who beat her three and four lengths respectively.
3 15 DESERT ENCOUNTER (D Simcock) 11/2, C2, IM3.5F, Soft
On what was a top Saturday for David Simcock’s yard, arguably most impressive was this one; against some progressive and trusted handicappers , DESERT ENCOUNTER strolled to a win. The testing ground was not an issue and he travelled like a dream the whole trip, until the final furlong when if pushed out more by Tom Marquand could have won by a healthier margin. This win makes it 3/3 this year, on ground ranging from soft to good to firm.