Tiber Flow wins the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock Park

Tom Marquand and Tiber Flow (maroon and dark blue, front third left) winning the Betfred John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock Park Racecourse on Saturday, June 8 2024
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Tiber Flow (6-1) bounced back under Tom Marquand to win the Betfred John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock Park on Saturday afternoon.

William Haggas' five-year-old had a painful day at the races at York last month. The gelding and jockey Marquand had a crashing fall after they were hampered in the Duke of York Stakes on the Knavesmire. But happily he suffered no lasting damage and following a return to work he landed a fine victory under Marquand to win the Group Three feature of eight races on Merseyside.

Marquand came over from a stands side position at Haydock early on to be near the back as Quinault made the running. As the leader weakened TIber Flow battled through his rivals to take the lead and score by a length from Sirona (12-1) with Pogo (11-2) another half-a-length back in third.

Winning jockey Marquand said: "Obviously when we got him back home after York he looked fine but you just never know how a fall is going to have affected them. He's a hardy little battler, everyone was happy with him, hence him being here today, but it was a bit of a fact-finding mission because as well as he looked at home you just don't know.

"He hadn't run over seven furlongs for a little while so I took him back from a horrible draw and in fact the race worked out beautifully. They went quick but coming up the middle made it easier for me rather than having to swing out wide. He seemed to really enjoy that and it's fantastic to see him back to his best. To be fair, I just wondered if having being tried at a higher level he just found things a bit easier today, it was maybe that more than the trip – also going around a bend gave him something else to think about.

"He was strong through the line and seven furlongs is well within his stamina range. Before today the Chipchase at Newcastle was a possible option but whether that changes now he has seen seven out so well, I don't know. Plans can change very fast."

Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant trainer, added: "He is tough. Tom said he knocked a couple out of the way. He is a bruiser. Although he was fine mentally he was sore after York. And our physio and threadmill team did a great job.

"He was sound, but we have a top class physio and threadmill team. And Gayle who looks after all the horses said he was sore all down one side. So whether that was the side that hit the ground first and he sort of bounced and did three quite dramatic somersaults, which looked worse as he was going so fast at the time. So they did a lot of work on him at the time and he wasn't ridden for probably about 10 days to get all the soreness out. That is the great thing about the threadmill, you can keep them going but without weight on their back.

"You can maintain the fitness but it is easier for them. They worked hard on him and although their wasn't much to do to him veterinary-wise, he seemed fine and just muscle-sore and bruised I would imagine. And then Chris, who rides him all the time got back on him and she was happy with him. He is strong mentally and obviously quite string physically as well. He worked the other day and when he worked well.

"From looking at him he hasn't missed a beat. We were all shocked after the race, because it was really dramatic. I took him back to the stables to see the horse straight after the race and he was happy, being washed off and was like, 'what's all the fuss about. He ate everything and never seemed to miss a beat. Which was quite weird as it was a pretty dramatic fall.

On future plans, she said: "We will talk to Wiliam, John and Julian to work out where he goes next. I thought the ground might be a bit quick for him. But he is a tough horse and is probably better now and he is travelling easier. He seemed to enjoy it today and enjoy the battle.

"Probably there is nothing at (Royal) Ascot for him. Maybe the Wokingham (Handicap) but there is probably nothing there. He has run a good race there but we will work it out. Maybe avoiding Ascot might be a good thing."

Clive Cox's Pedro Valentino (13-2), under Richard Kingscote, won the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap, beating Tourist (14-1) by a length-and-a-quarter with Jonny Concrete (18-1) another length-and-a-half back in third.