Chepstow’s flat season finale took place on a sunny afternoon with the ground riding good, good to soft in places. Favourites won the first five races.
Chasing his first jockeys’ title, Oisin Murphy got off to a good start by winning the 1m4f opener on the Hugo Palmer-trained Paths Of Glory (2/1 fav). Shaken up to lead inside the two pole, the lightly-raced four-year-old readily disposed of Astromachia, who was having his first run in 11 months. This pair was separated by two and a half lengths at the line. They were clear of the rest and look above average.
David Evans’s Elegant Love (evens fav) was the clear form pick for the 1m2f seller. The consistent filly was still a maiden but this drop in class worked the oracle. She moved ahead three out under Harry Bentley, who then pushed her into a commanding lead. Being eased down in the closing stages allowed Miss Elsa to finish only one length behind, but seven ahead of the remainder. The winner was bought in for 7,200 guineas.
Harry Bentley returned to the winners enclosure half an hour later on Music Therapist (11/8 fav), who George Scott trained to win the 6f nursery. He was one of a trio who fought for the lead from halfway, getting on top in the last 75 yards to score by three quarters of a length from Broken Rifle.
Festival Day’s close second on debut at Goodwood was the strongest form on display in the 7f fillies race. 4/6 was a good price in view of the way Mark Johnston’s two-year-old made all the running, streaking away from her opponents in the final furlong. It was a very good performance, in a good time. Franny Norton did the steering. Anfield Girl was fully six lengths back in second.
The 7f race for older fillies went to Eve Johnson Houghton’s Daryana (10/11 fav), who was a close fourth here last month. Her chance looked remote after the first quarter of a mile, when she was detached in last place. She made up ground in the middles section of the race, but needed to battle hard to get past Mac Jetes in the last half dozen strides to win by a neck. Georgia Dobie was the successful jockey.
The run of winning favourites ended with Bounty Pursuit’s 13/2 victory in the 7f handicap. His rider Megan Nicholls tracked the heavily backed Irish raider Canford Art, who led very briefly before the Michael Blake gelding swept past a furlong out, going on to win by a length and a half. It was the horse’s third triumph in his last four starts. Foxy Femme kept on to take second.
The concluding event was a 2m handicap, which was won by local jockey David Probert. The Alan King-trained Giving Back (8/1) hit form at Salisbury last week with first-time cheekpieces, and today a first-time visor provided sufficient motivation. She cruised to the front three out, only to be challenged immediately by Tribal Commander. These two, both greys, battled out the rest of the race, but Giving Back always had a bit in hand and she finished half a length ahead.