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Saturday 3 December 2016

Mick Kinane: Time for Twilight Son to take centre stage

Twilight Son with D O'Neill wins Handicap Stakes at Newmarket 2-5-15.
Twilight Son with D O'Neill wins Handicap Stakes at Newmarket 2-5-15.

The sprinters take centre stage again this weekend at Haydock and there is a strong Irish challenge heading over with Gordon Lord Byron and Sole Power flying the flag but Twilight Son is a horse I have been eager to see reappear and I think he is the bet in the race for anyone wanting to have a punt.

He's only a three-year-old and Henry Candy is doing a great job with him and he remains unbeaten in his four starts to date.

This is by far the greatest challenge of his career but I really liked him at York the last day and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he could beat the tough and seasoned sprinters.

Gordon Lord Byron is a fantastic servant and will no doubt run another big race for connections - he rarely runs a bad one - and it would be no surprise to see him there or thereabouts again with the ground likely to be ideal for him.

I would love to see Sole Power break his duck over six furlongs but his record over further than five speaks for itself and I suppose it's hard to see it happen.

Opted

Frankie Dettori obviously doesn't think so as he has opted to ride Danzeno and that has opened a massive door of opportunity for young Chris Hayes.

He's a lad who has been riding very well all year and seems to be on the top of his game at the moment and to ride a horse of the calibre of Sole Power in a Group One like this is a brilliant chance for him and he'll forever go down in history if he is the jockey that manages to get him to win over six furlongs. He'll thoroughly enjoy the experience anyway.

It has been a week of retirements of both horse and human.

The decision was taken by the Tsui family and John Oxx to retire My Titania this week after she failed to run up to the form we know she is capable of last week.

She was a Group Three winning two-year-old but just had a lot of problems last year and this year and things just didn't really fall right for her.

I think that knocked her confidence and she wasn't able to recapture it. She's a gorgeous looking filly and is a nice one to be going to the breeding sheds with and we look forward to the racehorses she produces in a few years' time.

Another horse to be given the pipe and slippers is Hurricane Fly. What a racehorse he was. His record of 22 Grade One wins is phenomenal and is one that is going to stand the test of time for quite a while.

To have a horse like that over jumps, who got to come back year after year, is incredible and everybody concerned did a fantastic job with him.

A trainer to announce his retirement yesterday was Clive Brittain and what a gentleman he is.

Clive is renowned for being up before the sun and you'd never get to the gallops on Newmarket before him. An early riser he is and also a thoroughly pleasant man.

I rode some nice winners for Clive in my time and I suppose Luso was probably the best of them - he won an Italian Derby and a Hong Kong Vase.

It was also nice to see Clive with such a good filly in Rizeena at the end of his career. They'll miss him around Newmarket.

Another retirement is Hayley Turner who announced that she'll be leaving the weighroom at the end of the season. Hayley was the first lady rider to win a Group One over this side of the world and she was all the rage five or six years ago and it just shows how tough a sport this can be that now she is retiring.

You also see Seb Sanders getting in a bit of hot water this week for riding in a race with no boots so he could make the weight.

Seb was champion jockey only a few years ago and now he is struggling to get 150 rides a year. Things move on very fast but it is a real shame to see two riders of that quality be so under-used in recent years.

Next weekend is Champions Weekend and our showcase meeting in Irish racing but there's plenty of sport to look forward to this weekend first and hopefully Galway will preform as they did against Tipperary and win Sunday's All-Ireland Final.

We love to see horses like Hurricane Fly win every time they turn up but in other sports like hurling and football with Mayo, it's nice to see the underdog come through and they are two matches I look forward to enjoying.

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