Temple Run at Haydock

Saturday 25th May, 1:50pm

Live In The Dream @ 10/3
Asfoora @ 9/2
Rogue Lightning @ 9/2
Vadream @ 9/2
Beautiful Diamond @ 15/2
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*prices correct at time of writing. 

Haydock’s Group Two Temple Stakes (1-50) is a significant early skirmish, over five furlongs, of the sprinting season, one practically certain to throw up candidates for Royal Ascot. Talking of which…much interest surrounds the Australian challenger Asfoora as she’s prepared for the re-named King Charles III Stakes (formerly the King’s Stand Stakes).

Although Nature Strip ran away with the King’s Stand in 2022, Aussie sprinters have not been turning up in the UK in quite the same way as at one time they did, and Asfoora’s trainer Henry Dwyer says he’s not travelled across the world with the five-year-old “for a haircut”.

All of her eight race-wins have been at five or an extended five furlongs, on ground varying from good through to soft, and she’s got some quality form in defeat. Asfoora is not the only international performer in the field as the front-running Live In The Dream, last year’s third, famously followed up his big-odds win in the Nunthorpe with two creditable efforts in the US.

His campaign, which revolves around intended returns to York and to America, starts here, but he won first time out in 2023. Seven Questions was 33-1 winner at the end of a scrambling, seven-way finish to the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, with that race’s soft-ground-loving defending trophy-holder Vadream second, the speedy Beautiful Diamond (racing for only the fifth time, and first-time-out aged three) in third and sprint-race regular Kerdos fifth. Because of recent persistent rain, there’s been a groundswell of support for Vadream.

Rogue Lightning brings Group One form to the party having followed up a post-gelding hatrick with a close (and rather luckless) fifth in the Prix de l’Abbaye; just behind Makarova finished sixth, ahead of Kerdos (eighth) and Equality, thirteenth out of eighteen.

Personally, I’d be inclined towards Rogue Lightning but for conditions; Vadream relishes soft but is quite exposed, so I think it’s Asfoora for me – what do you think?

Vandeek, last season’s highest-rated British two-year-old, clearly stands out in the Sandy Lane (2-25) and he may well further advertise Commonwealth Cup credentials, but as 2000 Guineas sixth Inisherin matures he can be expected to perform better and better.

In the Silver Bowl (1-15), Nellie Leylax has a five-pound rise in weight-level to overcome after winning last time, but that was over course and distance, and on rain-soaked ground, so a follow-up would be no surprise.

At The Curragh, in the Irish 2000 Guineas (3-40) the elements look the biggest danger to Newmarket Guineas runner-up Rosallion, and Richard Hannon has a talented back-up plan in Haatem, the Guineas third.

Although her pedigree doesn’t guarantee the mile-and-three-quarters of the Bronte Cup at York (3-20) will suit the likeable Gather Ye Rosebuds, she’s looking better the further she goes; in that same race, plus at 3-55, Rachael Blackmore makes rare appearances in British flat races – she’s won a few at home but only ever under NH Rules here.

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