Stamina and determination were necessary on a damp, windy day where the going was soft, heavy in places. Nevertheless, there were some good performances to note for future reference.
The favourite won the first race of the day, a 3m chase. Heavenly Promise (3/1 fav) was travelling well before cruising into the lead after the third last. She was not hard pressed to score by five lengths from Misty Mai. The winner has been rejuvenated since joining Fergal O’Brien and her form figures with him, and ridden by Connor Brace, are now 32111.
The three market principals in the 2m novices hurdle came to the fore after the third last flight, but before the next Stolen Silver (3/1) had cantered into a decisive lead. Scrappy jumps to the left at the final two obstacles didn’t stop him, and he drew 17 lengths ahead on the run-in. College Oak was second. Tom Bellamy rode the winner for Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has a very smart prospect on his hands with this grey four-year-old.
They finished well strung out in the 2m4f maiden hurdle, apart from the first and second, both of whom were returning after long absences. They served up a great all-Welsh finish, with only a neck between them. Successful pointer Colorado Doc made nearly all the running for David and Connor Brace, only to be overhauled in the last 50 yards by Rebecca Curtis’s Summer Name (6/1). Sean Bowen, riding him for all he was worth, certainly earned his fee.
Arqalina (5/2), making her debut over fences, won the 2m5f chase for the Venetia Williams stable. Ector was in the lead when almost brought to a standstill by a loose horse jumping in his way at the third last. Arqalina took over then, and was skilfully held together by Charlie Deutsch, coming in three and a half lengths ahead of the staying-on Ector.
Another all-Welsh 1-2 came in the 2m6f hurdle. The fine run of Bernard Llewellyn’s yard – five winners in a month – continued with the victory of Never Equalled (7/4 fav) in the 2m6f hurdle, his fourth at the track. It looked unlikely when the front-running Francky Du Berlais was still in a clear lead before the penultimate flight. However, messy jumps at the last two slowed him down and allowed Charlie Price to drive the favourite ahead on the run-in. There were eight lengths between them at the post.
A mares-only bumper brought the day to a close. Pure Bliss (7/1) coasted into the lead half a mile out and was in no danger thereafter, galloping all the way to the line in great style in the deteriorating conditions. Emmpressive Lady was the only pursuer to stay anywhere near her, and even she was eight lengths down at the end. The winner, who was bought for 100,000 euros earlier this year, was ridden by Mr Michael Legg and trained by Harry Fry.