Vandeek Set To Take Centre Stage on Haydock's Saturday Card

Vandeek | PA Media

The unbeaten Vandeek (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) features among 11 entries for Saturday's G2 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Sandy Lane S. at Haydock.

Trained by Simon and Ed Crisford, Vandeek proved himself a high-class sprinting two-year-old in 2023 when he signed off with back-to-back Group 1 victories in the Prix Morny at Deauville and Middle Park S. at Newmarket.

Already a short-priced favourite for next month's G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, Vandeek is set to warm up for that assignment on Merseyside this weekend, with Chris Wall, racing manager to owners KHK Racing, confirming that everything has gone to plan ahead of his eagerly-anticipated return to action.

“He's wintered well, he's had a good preparation up to now, so we hope the rest of the week goes well,” said Wall. “We're very much looking forward to getting him back on the track. He's done well physically over the winter, so we hope that brings about a bit of improvement as well. He's in good heart so it's all systems go.

“Last year he won Group 1s on heavy ground and fast ground, so it wouldn't really matter what it was but I think he'd prefer some nice ground. There is a bit of rain around later in the week but not heavy so it should just be nice for all.”

Considering the task Vandeek faces on Saturday, Wall added, “Obviously he's making his seasonal debut and we could be taking on some very capable horses who have had a run, like Jasour and Inisherin, but he's in good heart.

“I know Simon and Ed have left a bit to work on, but he's plenty fit enough for his debut. He'll have to pull his finger out here taking on Jasour and Inisherin, capable horses in their own right, with a 3-lb penalty to carry as well. You want him to have a race to bring him forward but you don't want him to have too hard a race that puts him back.”

Jasour (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) was down the field behind Vandeek in both the Prix Morny and the Middle Park, but he got back on track at Ascot last time when winning the G3 Commonwealth Cup Trial S. by a length and three-quarters, while Kevin Ryan's Inisherin (GB) (Shamardal) ran a huge race for one so inexperienced when finishing sixth in the G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Other notable entries in the Sandy Lane include Airman (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}), unbeaten in two starts at a lower level for Richard Fahey, and David O'Meara's G3 Greenham S. winner Esquire (GB) (Harry Angel {Ire}).

Elsewhere on the card, last year's G1 Nunthorpe S. hero Live In The Dream (Ire) (Prince Of Lir {Ire}) is the star name among 13 entries for the G2 Betfred Temple S. run over five furlongs.

Last seen finishing fourth in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November, Live In The Dream could come up against another top-level winner from last season in the shape of Regional (GB) (Territories {Ire}), who has been off the track since winning the Sprint Cup at Haydock in September, plus a pair of less-exposed sorts in Rogue Lightning (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) and Beautiful Diamond (GB) (Twilight Son {GB}).

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