Hello and welcome to the final Watty’s Flat Spots of the 2022 flat season.

Saturday saw the curtain very nearly come down on the north west flat season with Haydock and Chester both racing on the same day, for those wanting a final fix there is an encore in mid October at Haydock on the 14th before the full on hibernation begins and the twigs and tweed take over for the winter.

Neil Watson

Your intrepid reporter here found himself at Haydock as the burning embers of summer begin to fade into the distance  for what was a huge first as I was able to wear a suit and panama for every flat meeting that I’ve been to at Haydock this year which for anyone who lives around this area may make them want to consider contacting the spirit of Norris McWhirter (Record Breakers) just to see that this is the first time it’s ever occurred!

Norris McWhirter

As for the racing, well it was a bit of a comedown from the Sprint Cup just three weeks ago, a couple of Class 2 Handicap races formed the main events with the stand out win coming from Equality from the Charlie Hills stable who blitzed away to land the Lester Piggott First To Last Handicap over 5f.

But I did find as usual in this feature, three horses who caught the eye and in my view can go on to hopefully better things in the future.

1 – Conservationist – 2yo Bay Filly – Trainer : Clive Cox.

For the people from the Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket they will be Haydock bound come November when A Plus Tard returns for a second Betfair Chase but all eyes will have been on this nice looking 2yo as she strolled home to break her duck in the opening 2yo contest for fillies.

Sired by Muhaarar, who was a top class sprinter & whose wins included a Gimcrack at 2 and four other Group Ones she saw out the mile very well.

It’s hard to gauge when we will see her again next and while the Futurity at Doncaster might be the best option I think she could be put away now for the winter and she definitely has a big future ahead of her.


2 – Cherry – 2yo Bay Filly – Trainer : Ralph Beckett.

Three and three quarter lenghts behind Conservationist in the same Haydock race was this debutant by Dubawi.

As was probably expected she was a bit green to begin with but made plenty ground up towards the end and she will learn plenty from this.
You could imagine her trainer will find a nice easy race for her before the seasons out and she should stay a bit further as a 3yo.

3 – Arkendale – 2yo Brown Colt – Trainer : Ed Walker.

The 2yo novice race for the colts and geldings had a bit of a surprising result to many as the odds on favourite Onslow Gardens bottomed out and ran very flat, which was definitely unexpected seeing as he had finished runner up in his first two starts.

At the business end the race was eventually won by debutant Salt Bay from Ralph Beckett but I was very taken with second placed Arkendale.

To begin with he was a bit slow out of the gate and had to be squeezed along by his jockey Danny Tudhope but in the home straight the penny dropped and things clicked into gear and he was running on nicely towards the end.
I think he could make up into a nice middle distance type as a 3yo.

So there we go for 2022, next up after a short rest the jumping resumes with a trip to Carlisle although that is on the proviso that the trains actually run but it is a card that has some nice looking races on it.

It’s been an enjoyable flat season, probably not a vintage one but for many I suspect and I include myself in this the real highlight especially now, had to be seeing Kings Lynn win the Temple Stakes back in May at Haydock.

The main and poignant reason behind it is that was the last ever Group race winner for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who sadly passed away this month.

We all know how much of a racing fan the Queen was and while HM could not be at Haydock for it, the sight of any winner in the Royal colours always had a special feeling to it and it’s something that brought the crowd together.

For those of you who have become regular readers of this throughout the flat season, Thank you, and I hope you will join me on my jumping travels throughout the upcoming campaign, till then it’s goodbye. 

Article – Neil Watson @WattyRacing
Pictures – Neil Watson/File

AOLR Production – Published : September 2022


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