Ffos Las’s first flat race fixture of the year took place on a cloudy evening. The going was good to firm. It was a day to remember for punters who followed title-chasing Oisin Murphy, who rode four winners.
A quartet of three-year-old maidens contested the opening 5f handicap. Perfect Charm (7/2), blinkered for the first time, broke well and led all the way. He extended his lead in the penultimate furlong to put the result beyond doubt. Delachance ran on at the end, but there was still a length and a half between them at the line. It was another winner for the potent Archie Watson-Oisin Murphy combination.
Some nicely-bred juveniles lined up for the 7f novice race, in which the 1-2-3 was the same throughout. The Andrew Balding-trained Berlin Tango (evens fav) led from Itkaann and Arabian Moon, and increased his advantage in good style in the final furlong and a half to score by four and a half lengths. Oisin Murphy was completing a quick double.
Jered Maddox (7/2), trained in County Tipperary by David Marnane, had shown very little in his eight-race career, but overseas travel clearly agrees with him. In the 7f maiden he came from last at halfway to lead in the final 150 yards, winning a trifle cosily by three quarters of a length from Midas Girl. It was the first course triumph both for Marnane and for jockey Donagh O’Connor.
In the 6f race Oisin Murphy set out to make all the running on Rod Millman’s Handytalk (5/2). Nigg Bay challenged and may have gained a slender lead inside the final furlong, only for Handytalk to fight back tenaciously and go on to win by three quarters of a length.
Only four ran in the 2m handicap, but it featured an enthralling finish after Arty Campbell took the lead fully two and a half furlongs out. Jukebox Jive went after him and harried him all the way to the line. However, Toshima (11/4), who had won a maiden hurdle here 11 days ago, collared them both in the last hundred yards. He stayed on dourly for the in-form Robert Stephens team, providing Oisin Murphy with his fourth winner of the night. He finished a length ahead of Arty.
Having his first run after a wind op, Renardeau (8/1) ran on well to lead a hundred yards out and break his duck at the eighth attempt for Ali Stronge. His usual pilot Tom Marquand had stayed loyal to him and once they had got the better of Twpsyn, who’d made his move a quarter of a mile out, they galloped on to a half length success.
The programme ended with another 7f handicap, and the best finish of the night. A host of horses spread across the course charged into the final furlong and it was impossible to be sure of the outcome until the last few strides. Then Incentive (6/1), coming down the outside, showed a head in front of the little grey, Mabo, running alongside her. Rob Hornby rode the winner for Devon trainer Stuart Kittow.