You can never be afraid of one horse. In racing there is no such thing as certainties but racing fans though they would have one on Saturday when the unbeaten star Calyx was unleashed in the Sandy Lane. It was seen as a penalty kick and more people were willing to guess the winning distance rather who could possibly beat him. Well there was a couple who didn’t quite read the script and quite literally tore it up. Hello Youmzain bolted up in the Group 2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.
The strapping colt, by crack sire Kodiac, had always been an imposing a powerful sort. It took a bit of time for the colt to find his feet and strengthen into his frame but once he did he really did his talking on the track. Comfortably making a winning debut at Carlisle, Youmzain then finished a narrow 2nd when trying to defy a penalty. Following that run he took his form to another level when winning the Group 2 Criterium De Maissons-Lafitte. That comfortable win had put him in plenty of notebooks and gave connections a lovely winter dreaming of what could be in 2019.
Classics are a one time only race. They are only open to 3yo and only offer a very limited number of horses the opportunity to win and make history. Hello Youmzain might have been sired by Kodiac but he had plenty of stamina in the dam’s side so Kevin had to see whether he would stay the Guineas trip or whether he would be a sprinter for the future. The 7f Greenham was the trial chosen and answered all the questions. Youmzain ran a great race but it was clear he didn’t stay, although it proved that he was still a smart home. Immediately the obvious race was the Sandy Lane at Haydock and it was confirmed to be the plan.
Kevin Stott had enjoyed the biggest win of his young career aboard Hello Youmzain and was back on board. The race has fast become the best trial for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot but with Calyx confirmed to run there were very few contenders willing to take on the unbeaten colt. This race had always been the plan and it didn’t matter who turned up Hello Youmzain would need to take them on and find out just where he lay in the packing order. Despite all the hype around Calyx, there was confidence that Youmzain would run well back at a trip more suitable trip to his attributes and be the one to give Calyx his biggest test to date.
Only 4 runners went to post for the 6f contest and the punters basically suggested the result was already done. Calyx was sent off 2-13 fav with Hello Youmzain a 5-1 shot, whilst the other two were well over 20-1. With a small field tactics could be crucial but Royal Intervention did look the one who may go on and set a true gallop. The filly duly took up front running tactics leaving the stalls, closely followed on the stands side by Hello Youmzain whilst Calyx raced the far side of the filly and True Mason made up the diamond at the back of the field. It was a nice gallop through the early stages and Kevin got his mount into a nice rhythm.
There was never going to be too much excitement through the early stages with such a small field and the quartet raced in the same formation throughout the first half of the contest. Although the leader had jumped left on leaving the stalls the field ended up racing down the centre of the track. With little to split the four runners it was too soon to say who was going best although both Calyx and Hello Youmzain seemed to travelling just fine.
Moving past the 3f marker it was clear that the tactics of the leader was to hopefully catch the rest on their heels and try to quicken early on. Royal Intervention began to get the hurry up over 2 1/2f from home and although she injected pace into the contest the move did nothing to worry her 3 rivals. As they bared down on the 2f marker both Calyx and Hello Youmzain edged out to ready their challenge looming large either side of the leader. Kevin began to work first winding Youmzain up as Calyx came to the fore on the far side. True Mason had travelled well to this point but couldn’t go with the two leading contenders and the leader was looking a sitting duck.
This was the moment Calyx would quicken up and put the field in their place. Although it didn’t happen and it was Youmzain who suddenly looked the stronger. Havlin, on board Calyx, now sensed danger and immediately got serious. With 1 1/2f to go Youmzain hit the front and you could hear a pin drop. Calyx lugged left and so to did Hello Youmzain but the latter was now a length up. Moving into the final furlong and Youmzain had the race at his mercy. He was clear and just looking stronger with every stride. Although all could suddenly go wrong there just didn’t seem to be an answer from Calyx. Kevin pulled his stick through to his left hand to straighten his mount up and drover for home. Youmzain was more than will and his giant stride ate up the ground. He powered clear opening up with every yard galloped and pulled clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths.
Shock? Yes but not as huge as others may think. Hello Youmzain has always shown he was a smart individual and is a lovely sprinter going forward. Of course only a fool would right off a star like Calyx but on the day Youmzain won comfortably and he will only continue to improve. He is a giant of a horse and will continue to learn with his racing, especially now he has his trip. Owner Mr Jaber Abdullah has enjoyed some world class horses and this fella may just be the next one. The best thing British racing did was to create a programme for 3yr old sprinters as now we are seeing the benefits of it. Since the Commonwealth Cup was introduced owners and trainers have been able to keep their sprinting stars and campaign them correctly. The benefits have shown with the likes of Muhaarar and Quiet Reflection becoming champion sprinters whilst Sands Of Mali took this race before winning the Champions Sprint. Hello Youzain is a very nice horse and if everyone is in agreement the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot would be the next logical step. It would be a fascinating race should he renew his rivalry with Calyx and then throw in Ten Sovereigns to the equation. That would be a mouth watering trio to do battle and something that anybody could get excited about.