Located west of Manchester, Haydock Park is one of the premier racecourses in the North of England; home to the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup in early September along with many top-class National Hunt chases. A total of 32 race meetings took place last year, with both courses suiting long-striding gallopers, especially when on the soft side.
The course at Haydock is mostly flat and is run left-handed. The one mile five furlong track features a steep uphill run-in of four-and-a-half furlongs which lends itself to many dramatic finishes on a course with otherwise gradual bends and few undulations.
The steeplechase National Hunt circuit also measures one mile five furlong with a total of ten fences. It’s interesting to note that the obstacles at Haydock Park are second only to the Aintree Grand National in terms of difficulty. The hurdles course is slightly shorter than the full one mile five furlongs – with six flights to jump.
The track was opened back in 1899; with much of Haydock’s early development overseen by the legendary Sydney Sandon, who served as course secretary, chairman and managing director throughout its infancy.
Other prestigious races on the Haydock race calendar include the Dick Hern Fillies’ Stakes, named after the horse trainer, Dick Hern, who died tragically in 2002. The major jump races include the Betfair Chase and the Champion Hurdle Trial.
Geegeez says: “When the rain gets into the ground at Haydock – which it regularly does in this part of the world – the stands side often rides faster and it is not uncommon for jockeys to track over in search of a little more forgiving turf.
“High numbers used to be favoured in Haydock’s sprint races when the ground was good to soft, but lower draws now seem to have an increasing advantage; particularly on soft to heavy turf. You can almost certainly rule out those drawn in double figures in 18+ runner sprints on soft or heavy ground.”
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