Believing blitzes to victory in the Achilles Stakes at Haydock Park

Believing, ridden by Daniel Tudhope, wins the Betfred Passionate About Sport Achilles Stakes on Betfred John O'Gaunt Stakes Day at Haydock Park Racecourse on Saturday, June 8 2024
-Credit: (Image: Richard Sellers/PA)

Believing (5-1) blitzed to victory in the Listed Betfred Passionate About Sport Achilles Stakes at Haydock Park on Saturday afternoon. And with that success George Boughey's four-year-old filly booked a potential trip to Royal Ascot and a crack at the Group One King Charles III Stakes on the opening day a week on Tuesday.

And while Believing was impressive in landing a two-and-three-quarter-length success over Commanche Falls (11-1), Adam West’s Nunthorpe Stakes hero Live In The Dream – sent off the 5-4 favourite – disappointed after a speedy start. The five-year-old market leader, who has been second to Kerdos over course and distance at Haydock last month in the Group Two Temple Stakes, flew out of the gates to lead. But under Danny Tudhope, Believing was always travelling well just off the pace set by Live In The Dream and Democracy Dilemma.

But as the favourite began to weaken, Believing moved through stylishly to hit the front and quickly move clear of his rivals for a commanding success over Commanche Falls. Korker (14-1) was a further six lengths back in third with Live In The Dream a distant fifth.

Believing, who had been a fine third in the Group One Sprint Cup over six furlongs at Haydock last September, took the drop back in trip in her stride. Trainer Boughey and jockey Tudhope believe the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing-owned Believing deserves a crack at the five-furlong King Charles III, for which she is as low as 12-1 with Coral and 16-1 from 40-1 with Paddy Power. Although she was available at 20-1 with some other firms.

The winner disappointing in Hong Kong on her last start but Boughey said: "That was very impressive. I was really disappointed after Hong Kong when nothing really went right for her, but the key to her is good ground. There was a strong headwind today and the favourite was running into the teeth of it, but we weren't sat that far behind."

Believing could run twice at Ascot with King Charles III Stakes and the six-furlong Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes on the final day. And Boughey said: "She'll definitely run in the five-furlong race. It wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world if she also ran on the Saturday over six as well. She's a very easy filly to train so if she's OK after Tuesday's race, she could then run on the Saturday."

Winning jockey Tudhope added: "They went quite hard up front and there was a strong headwind, but I was able to get a nice bit of cover from the wind. She travelled super and she did it quite easy. She's a good filly on her day. I won on her at Pontefract over six furlongs and she did it easily that day as well. She's versatile, but she's getting better and a lot quicker as well. There's some lovely races for her to target and George is doing a great job with her."

Live In The Dream's owner Steve de'Lemos was mystified over his pride and joy's run. He said: "I'm shocked and can't believe he's run that badly. "Maybe it's a bit of a City Of Troy moment in the Guineas. He was a short-priced favourite and he was stuffed. He's been doing some great work at home and we feel he's matured and is a better horse than last year. Everything was perfect. The only thing against us today was a 40mph headwind, but nobody really slipstreamed him. He did peck as he came out the stalls, so I don't know if he's hurt himself. There's something not right, but Adam (West, trainer) will get to the bottom of it."

Iron Lion ridden by Jamie Spencer (right) beats Knightswood (centre) to winning the Betfred 'Play Fred's 5 Million' Handicap on Betfred John O'Gaunt Stakes Day at Haydock Park Racecourse on Saturday, June 8 2024
Iron Lion ridden by Jamie Spencer (right) beats Knightswood (centre) to winning the Betfred 'Play Fred's 5 Million' Handicap on Betfred John O'Gaunt Stakes Day at Haydock Park Racecourse on Saturday, June 8 2024 -Credit:Richard Sellers/PA

David O'Meara's Iron Lion (11-2) grabbed a second victory of the season in the Betfred ‘Play Fred’s 5 Million’ Handicap. And connections are already eyeing a potential crack at the Ebor Handicap at York in August and even a trip Down Under for the Melbourne Cup in November.

Under Jamie Spencer, Iron Lion sat back in the pack off the pace set by Divina Grace. But with two furlongs to go, he came down the outside to take over and battled on well to score by a length from the fast-finishing Knightswood (11-2), who had a troubled passage under Joe Fanning before flying home once in the clear. Strutch (5-1) was a further three-quarters-of-a-length back in third in the 1m4f contest.

Winning jockey Spencer believes the gelded son of Roaring Lion will get further and praised his staying ability. He said: "He stayed well. He travelled well. He cruised into it and probably get there a little sooner than I wanted to. But this track is like that. He could go to Ascot. Or he could even be an Ebor horse. He is a strong traveller but I think he is a flat-track horse, not undulations. Somewhere like Donny (Doncaster) would suit him. There should be more to come."

Iron Lion is owned by Elwick Stud, whose stud manager Gary Moore said: "He's got quite a knee action and he really appreciated the rain that fell overnight. Good ground is good enough for him and we might think about the Ebor now. Jamie said he'll stay so we might go to Melbourne! We'll see what David says, he's the trainer. He's a nice horse, a real fine, big stamp. His sister (Lava Stream) runs tomorrow in a Listed race at Goodwood so that would be a nice family double. We've got 40 mares on 300 acres just between Durham and Newcastle. There are not many better jobs when you have days like this."