Can the old man do it again? Blaklion, 13, bids to win fourth course | Horse racing news

John Grossick (

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Blaklion: He won't want the soil to dry out too much

Blaklion: He won’t want the soil to dry out too much

John Grossick (

By Graeme Rodway and David Milnes

Wednesday: 3.07 Haydock
Jewson Widnes Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Stage 12 of the Veterans’ Chase Series) | 3m1½f | 10 years+ | RTV

Twelve months ago Blaklion went on the spring to land this veterans event from a mark of 131 and came back a year with a mark of 5lb over the age of 13. Can he turn back the clock?

He is handicapped to do so, provided the passage of time has not taken its toll, having won a handicap chase by 28 lengths outside this mark last December. However, his last two wins at this course have come on really hard ground and it won’t be as soft this time around.

Conditions are drying out at Haydock so it might be no worse than good to soft and it could be one or two with a bit more speed if the ground goes as expected.

Two of the ten-year-olds in the race, Coo Star Sivola and Chambard, match that mark, with Chambard last seen winning the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.

Chambard competes with a career-high BHA rating, while Coo Star Sivola debuts for Venetia Williams after a 595-day absence. Williams has had four stable starters return from at least 500 days off this decade and all have been beaten, and she is just 1-16 in that span with horses running after at least that long in off the track.
Race Analysis by Graeme Rodway

Edward Whitaker (

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Venetia Williams: Runs both Chambard and Coo Star Sivola and both can go well

Venetia Williams: Runs both Chambard and Coo Star Sivola and both can go well

Edward Whitaker (

What are they saying

Dan Skelton, Blaklion coach
His return to Bangor was disappointing, but he was the same last season. He won this race last year and if we could win one of these races with a 13-year-old that would be a very good achievement. He doesn’t look like an old horse at home.

James Moffatt, Burbank coach
He runs well fresh so has a lot going for him. I taught him myself the other day and he was classy as always. He’ll enjoy the ground as it doesn’t seem like it’ll be a noise, but it just depends on what’s going on between his ears. Like many in the race, he has forgotten more things than I will ever learn.

Nicky Martin, the coach of the two friends
Hopefully the soil doesn’t dry out too much as he really wants it to be soft or hard to show his best form. When he ran back to Sedgefield the ground was too fast for him and he turned quite badly. Now he is in better shape and running in a race where the others have legs of the same age as him.

Alan O’Keeffe, spokesman for Fortified Bay trainer Jennie Candlish
He’s had a lot of time off but he’s enjoying Haydock and hopefully he can run a nice race back. Whatever he achieves here he will improve and there is a nice schedule of these races going forward.

Nick Alexander, Up Helly Aa King trainer
He finished fourth in last year’s race and then won at Doncaster, so it’s a series he likes. He ran back in a very competitive race at Kelso where he made a late mistake so we are hopeful. Blaklion might be the one to beat as he seems to have been handicapped pretty well.

Richard Hobson, Saint Xavier coach
He blew up at Cheltenham first time out but is a good racing weight and we expect a nice run.
Report by David Milnes

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