Picnic Raceday was suitably sunny and warm. The going was good to soft, good in places.
The opener was a ten furlong contest for maiden fillies. The first five finished in a heap. James Fanshawe’s Sincerity (11/4 fav) was pushed and shoved along in fourth place to little avail by Tom Marquand for some time. However, she appreciated the tenth furlong most and went ahead with a hundred yards to go, finishing three quarters of a length in front of Air Force Amy, with three others hot on their heels. The winner should get further.
Roger Charlton’s Hexagon (6/4) shadowed the leader for most of the 7f race for juveniles, and Jason Watson urged him ahead two and a half furlongs out. The favourite, Arabian Moon, then mustered a challenge and stayed on doggedly, but Hexagon pulled out more and held him at bay. There was a length and a half between them at the line.
Crime of Passion, the 14/1 outsider of five, won the 5f nursery. It was her first appearance in a handicap and on a yielding surface. The resurgent Kieran Shoemark, riding for Jamie Osborne, held her up until bringing her wide to make her effort. She responded well, quickening past the others at the furlong pole to run out a length and a quarter winner over Prissy Missy.
Almost everything in the 1m4f handicap was thoroughly out of form, but Tigerskin (14/1) found some improvement with the aid of first-time tongue-tie and blinkers. Harry Bentley gave the Ralph Beckett-trained three-year-old a positive ride, going to the front fully a mile out, and he had all his rivals in trouble by the two pole. He drew right away in the penultimate furlong. Chinese Alphabet was the eight length runner-up.
The next, a 1m4f novices stakes, was delayed by two horses spreading a plate in the preliminaries. Cape Cavalli had the best form on offer, but it was all by finishing second and third at short odds, whereas her main rival, Monica Sheriff (11/8) had won on heavy ground for William Haggas. They had the race to themselves in the last half mile, and though Monica initially looked held, her stamina eventually kicked in. She took the lead a furlong out and came right away to score by three lengths, completing a double for Tom Marquand. Back in third, Lucy Lou ran her best race to date.
The sixth event on the card, over 1m6f, gave racegoers a welcome opportunity to see the starting stalls in operation right in front of the stands. There was a fine finish, with General Zoff, Diocletian and Darksideoftarnside (6/1) each looking like prevailing at different moments in the last three furlongs. Ultimately, Darkside gained the upper hand in the final 150 yards and Never Surrender ran on to take second, a length in arrears. Ian Williams trained the winner, who was giving Jason Watson a double.
The final race was over a mile. Mabo went for home three out and it looked like a decisive move until he started tying up in the final furlong. The well-handicapped last-time-out winner Greeley (3/1) came from some way behind to grab the lead with 75 yards to go. Flying Dragon kept on to take second, a length and three quarters away. David Egan rode Greeley for Rod Millman.