An Elvis-themed race night brought some interesting lookalikes out in force. On the track, the going was good to firm and small fields were the order of the day.
A decent 2m5f novices chase began the card, four of the six runners being recent winners. Pink Eyed Pedro (7/4 fav) followed up his hurdling success at Worcester on Monday in good style, jumping well as he tracked the leader Bletchley Castle. Pedro hit the front after the third last and was soon in command, winning by two and a half lengths. Connor Brace, who won seven or eight point to points on him, rode him for his grandfather David.
The 3m chase was a competitive affair, most of the six runners having already won this season. Dr Robin (5/1) made virtually all the running for Peter and James Bowen. Four of them were in close contention at the fourth last, but a series of good jumps helped keep his momentum and hold off Trigger Nichol by two lengths.
Before the 2m mares hurdle Khismet (2/7 fav) was confidently expected to follow up last week’s win in a conditionals race, for which she was unpenalised. She had drawn up to the front-running Definite Winner at the penultimate flight, and was left in the lead when that one came down. Tom O’Brien guided Khismet to a four length victory over Sue Be It for the in-form John Flint yard.
The feature race, a 2m4f hurdle, went to the unpenalised recent winner Brave Helios (5/6 fav), trained by Dr Richard Newland. He set a steady pace and the race turned into a bit of a sprint in the home straight. Ballon Onabudget briefly led coming to the last, but Brave Helios regained the lead on the run-in and fought tigerishly to land the spoils by a neck. He was helped by jumping well and having to carry only 9 stone 7 pounds, thanks to his rider Alexander Thorne’s claim. It was the young man’s first ride at Ffos Las.
The 2m4f maiden hurdle was a straightforward victory for Nicky Henderson’s The Cashel Man (1/8 fav), who broke a run of three second places. He had to be shaken up by Jeremiah McGrath to take over from Norwegian Woods at the penultimate flight, but did so readily. He jumped the last well and went on to a comfortable, though not hugely impressive, seven length win.
There was tight betting among the quartet running in the mares’ bumper, and they stayed closely grouped in the race itself. On The Quiet (9/4) was the last one to come under pressure, and she took the lead two out. Extending her advantage in the final furlong, she came four and a half lengths clear to win for Evan and Isabel Williams. Milana Ocarina finished second.