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Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Five things we learned from Saturday's racing

Gordon Lord Byron and Chris Hayes power to victory in the Greenlands Stakes
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1. Age is but a number

Most horses still running on the Flat aged nine years old are plying their trade towards the lower levels, but not Gordon Lord Byron. Tom Hogan's admirable veteran showed there's still plenty of speed left in his legs when winning the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes.

Even though there was no Acapulco to take on, Gordon Lord Byron still had to tough it out from the front, and it is testament to his and Hogan's ability that despite his advancing years he was able to hold his younger rivals at bay. Hogan would like to try to get the son of Byron to 20 career wins (he is now on 16) and on the evidence of Saturday's performance that looks achievable.

Harry Angel: will be racing in blue from now on

2. Flash Harry

The conveyor belt of classy sprinters at Clive Cox's yard has produced another potential superstar, as Harry Angel took the Sandy Lane field apart at Haydock in a course-record time.

Cox has made no secret of the regard in which he holds the three-year-old, who bounded away by four and a half lengths in the Group 2. A rematch with Pavilion Stakes conqueror Blue Point now awaits in the Commonwealth Cup, and that could be some burn-up, especially with Caravaggio also pencilled in for that.

3. Cox on the charge

Staying with Cox, what a difference a few days makes. Before Sandown's Brigadier Gerard meeting the yard had failed to hit the target for the month.

But a winner at that meeting, a double at Bath on Friday and another, more high-profile double at Haydock on Saturday has helped the team roar back to form. Like Flash Harry, Temple Stakes winner Priceless is heading to Royal Ascot, and when you add in My Dream Boat, Profitable and some useful-looking juveniles, Cox could be set for a very exciting five days next month.

Churchill and Ryan Moore pull clear to win the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas

4. Who can stop Churchill and O'Brien?

Three down, seven to go. Could Aidan O'Brien complete a clean sweep of the ten British and Irish Classics? This question may be rendered obsolete by Sunday afternoon if he does not win the Irish 1,000 Guineas, but given he has the favourite, Winter, plus another three chances in the eight-runner field, the odds are in his favour.

Churchill has done his part with a 2,000 Guineas double, and, while the slower ground at the Curragh was not to his liking, he still readily swatted aside Thunder Snow. Even if O'Brien is eventually bested in the Classics this season, finding a miler to topple Churchill looks a tall order.

5. Hot Haggas

The form of the William Haggas yard is in keeping with the week of sweltering temperatures that most of Britain has enjoyed.

On Saturday the Newmarket-based trainer sent out five winners, with doubles at York and Chester, plus one at Goodwood for good measure.

Of those five winners, Dal Harraild caught the eye the most with a smooth success in the Listed Grand Cup at York. The four-year-old displayed speed and stamina on his first try at 1m6f, and looks like a Cup horse to follow this season.

A rematch with Pavilion Stakes conqueror Blue Point now awaits in the Commonwealth Cup, and that could be some burn-up
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