Bright periods enlivened a breezy day when most racegoers should have been able to find at least one winner. The going was good.
The opener was a 6f nursery, in which the first two pulled well clear. Oisin Murphy had Endless Joy (5/2) in front soon after the start, and she was still bowling along at the business end of the race. Jump The Gun was the only one who could stay anywhere near her, but the leader galloped on merrily to win by a length. She was Archie Watson’s 45th juvenile winner this year.
In the 6f handicap Gilt Edge (11/10 fav) completed a hat trick for Caerwent trainer Chris Mason, each time ridden by apprentice Rhiain Ingram. She tracked the leader until taking up the running approaching the two pole. Elzaam’s Dream challenged her from that point, but Gilt Edge hung on well and wasn’t all out to pass the post half a length ahead.
Cheekpieces were fitted to the Lisa Williamson-trained Brandy Station for the first time today and odds of 100/30 indicated that he was fancied to improve on some lacklustre efforts since his last victory here, fully twelve months ago. He burst out of the stalls first and made all the running to win, untroubled, by four lengths, a huge margin for a 5f race. Apprentice Gavin Ashton enjoyed an armchair ride on what was his eighth career success. Spot Lite led the rest home.
Coincidence punters may have seized on the correct forecast in the 7f maiden for two-year-olds. The debutant Black Comedy led for most of the race, with It’s Good To Laugh (8/13 fav) harassing him through the last quarter of a mile. The favourite gave his rival a bump with about 150 yards to go, allowing him to go on to a length and a quarter victory that ought to have been narrower. Hector Crouch rode the winner for Clive Cox. Raatea wasn’t knocked about to finish a close third.
The three market leaders in the 1m4f novice stakes filled the first three places, but in the reverse order to what was expected and separated by wide margins. The odds-on Alignak capitulated before the two furlong marker, and Caravan Of Hope’s appearance in front was short-lived, for Trueshan (9/2) and Hollie Doyle overhauled him easily and stayed on well to win by almost three lengths in a fast time. Alan King has a promising dual-purpose horse on his hands.
The odds-on favourite in the next, a 1m6f handicap, Tavus (4/9 fav) didn’t let his backers down. It was hard work for him and Jason Watson to see off two or three dogged rivals, but in the final furlong he was able to assert over Victoriano and Arthur Pendragon. Roger Charlton’s improving stayer won by a length and a half.
Charlton and Watson completed a double in the finale, over a mile, with Basilisk (9/2). He got the better of a good tussle with All Right through the last furlong to win by half a length. However, five other horses were finishing faster and the result may have been very different if the race had been a hundred yards longer.