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Previews10 June 2023

Will the Achilles Stakes reveal another golden Haydock highway for the high-drawn runners?

Prince Of Pillo won the Harry Rosebery Stakes at Ayr for Dalgleish last September
Prince Of Pillo: stall 8 could prove an advantageCredit: John Grossick (

The three high-profile sprints at Haydock's televised meeting two weeks ago gave punters backing anything drawn low or in the middle absolutely no chance.

Stalls seven and eight came to the fore in the nine-runner Cecil Frail, seven beat five in the seven-runner Sandy Lane and, to put the icing on the cake, the first four home in the 14-runner Temple came from the highest four boxes.

The ground was significantly faster by the stands' rail and if the Achilles Stakes reveals a similar advantage, we probably need consider only Mondammej (stall seven), Prince of Pillo (eight), Makarova (nine) and Equilateral (ten).

Early favourite Equilateral benefitted from the bias in the Temple as he stayed on into second behind King's Stand fancy Dramatised. In essence everything fell perfectly for Equilateral and it is difficult to believe this eight-year-old, whose winless spell dates back to February 2021, merits such a short price in a competitive sprint. Stick Equilateral on the other side of the track and jock off Frankie Dettori for a less heralded name and you could treble his likely odds.

Returning three-year-old Prince Of Pillo is something of a boom-or-bust runner for his supporters. He quickly reached a smart level at two having made his debut only last July and meets exposed sprinters whose limits we know. The questions surrounding him are related to fitness and pedigree. Will he be ready to go and will his precocious genes start to hinder rather than help him?

The other lightly raced sort is the filly Makarova, who might have been missed in the market despite her draw in close proximity to the potential golden highway. Makarova is rated only 93 and needs to improve, but was on the wrong side when fading in the Cecil Frail over 6f and gives the impression a drop to 5f for the first time can make the difference to her finishing effort. Her previous two runs at Newmarket tie in closely with top-class sprinter Azure Blue, who would be a short price were she running here.
Race analysis by Robbie Wilders

What they say

Tim Palin, racing manager to Middleham Park Racing, owners of Clarendon House and Prince Of Pillo
There’s so little between them that it was difficult to know which one to put the first colours on. Clarendon House ran a great race to be third at Epsom last week so hopefully this doesn’t come too soon. He ran poorly in this last year when he may have done too much too early so we may drop him in. Interestingly, Ryan Moore’s agent chose Prince Of Pillo, who is in good shape and is using this as a stepping stone to the Commonwealth Cup.

Charlie Hills, trainer of Equilateral
If the draw is anything to go by from last time he looks to be in the right spot and he’s down in class but it still looks competitive enough. He doesn’t win very often but hopefully this can set him up for the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 21: Frankie Dettori riding Equilateral wins the Dubai Dash during the Dubai World Cup Carnival Races at the Meydan Racecourse on January 21, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Equilateral: favourite for the Achilles StakesCredit: Francois Nel (Getty Images)

Karl Burke, trainer of Korker
If he jumps out of the stalls he’d have a great chance. If he comes out on terms he would have a great chance but he’s a bit claustrophobic.

Anthony Brittain, trainer of Mondammej
He has a bit to find on the ratings but he likes Haydock, having two wins and a fourth in the Temple Stakes there last year. He’s a hold up horse and has a decent draw so if he gets the splits he should go well.

Chris Dixon, member of The Horse Watchers, owners of Raasel
He had little chance from his draw in the Temple Stakes last time so best to scratch that run. He ran a nice race at Newmarket before that and is working well. We’re hopeful he bounces back to form but we would’ve preferred a higher draw.

Ed Bethell, trainer of Regional
Obviously, his rating has gone up since his comeback win at York and we're now in Listed class where Equilateral looks the one to beat. He loves a flat track and fast ground so we hope the thunderstorms that are forecast land after the race.
Reporting by David Milnes

Saturday previews:

1.50 Haydock: 'I am hoping for another big run' - can Mr Wagyu give weight all round in competitive sprint handicap?   

2.25 Haydock: 'He appears to have lots in his favour' - Charlie Fellowes sweet on favourite Cumulonimbus   

2.32 Auteuil: 'This has been his long-term target' - Paul Nicholls eyes first French winner in seven years   

3.00 Haydock: Frankie Dettori and Mimikyu bid to return Pinnacle Stakes to former glories as Group 1 winner producer   

3.35 Haydock: Can Aussie raider The Astrologist get back on track for a crack at Royal Ascot in the John of Gaunt?   

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Robbie WildersTipster
David MilnesNewmarket correspondent
Published on 9 June 2023Last updated 18:44, 9 June 2023