A mild, wonderfully sunny evening. So much so, in fact, that in the last four races all the hurdles in the home straight were omitted because of the low sun. The going was good, good to soft in places.
We began with an open-looking 3m chase. The Boom Is Back, heavily gambled on to no avail here on his last start and well supported again today, was poised to gain compensation for connections when hitting the front three out. However, he was worried out of it by Againn Dul Aghaidh (16/1), trained by Alan Jones in Somerset and ridden by Brendan Powell. A mistake when coming alongside at the last almost ruined his chance, but he ran on well to collar the leader in the final 75 yards and win by a length.
The six-runner novice chase over 2m5f went to the 10/1 outsider, Chimes Of Dylan. A fine jump at the final fence gave him the momentum to overtake Broughtons Rhythm, who had made most of the running and was in the process of finishing second for the third time in a row. The two and a quarter length winner was ridden by Alan Johns and trained by Tim Vaughan, whose stable has been having a fine time of it lately.
The next race also went to the outsider of the party. Four in-form horses contested the feature 3m chase but the winner, Colin Tizzard’s Bally Longford (4/1), made all the running for an easy victory, assisted by the falls of two of his rivals. Cesar Et Rosalie, who came down at the third last, might have made a race of it. Stockburn was the only other one left then and he posed no serious threat to the leader, who Harry Cobden guided to a five length success.
A 2m novice hurdle for mares followed, but in this race and the rest of the evening only the four flights in the back straight were jumped due to the setting sun. The long odds-on favourite, representing the highly successful owners Munir and Souede, flopped badly. Johnny Farrelly’s Valse Au Taillons (11/2) rediscovered the form she’d shown once in the winter by making all the running under Tom Cannon. She drew further and further clear in the home straight to beat Ena Baie by 11 lengths.
Another surprise result came in the 2m6f hurdle. Richard Johnson was fancied to break a run of 27 losers at Ffos Las on Victarion, but that one found little when pressure was applied. His challenge was repelled by Tsundoku (12/1), who took the lead early in the straight for Charlie Deutsch and held on by two and a half lengths from the running-on Polished Rock. Alexandra Dunn’s mare was running for the third time after an 18 month lay-off.
Tim Vaughan’s Alltimegold (5/6 fav) had won three races over fences in May and was tried in a 2m hurdle, where he could run off a much lower handicap mark. He went ahead about six furlongs out, and by the time he passed the third last he had all the rest in trouble. Apart from a momentary wobble about a furlong from the end, his backers had little to worry about. His length and a half victory over Sin Sin completed doubles for Vaughan and Alan Johns.
Codeshare (11/10 fav) built on the improvement he showed last time out by taking the 2m4f hurdle for Peter and Sean Bowen. Going well, he took the lead off the tail-swishing Belmont Jewel a furlong and a half out and soon had a five length advantage. The rest came in a long way behind.