The going was good, good to soft in places for this Thursday afternoon meeting.
Punters got off to a terrible start with Set Point Charlie (16/1) beating a 50/1 shot, Willett, in the one mile handicap. Ironically, the race sponsors were promoting responsible gambling. Charlie was held up in the rear, going nicely, and Tom Queally was able to come along the stands rail to take it up off the long-time leader Willett at the furlong pole. Under a hands and heels ride, the Seamus Durack-trained three-year-old coasted into a lead of over two lengths and a very easy win.
The one mile fillies handicap went more according to plan. Amorously (5/1), reverting to a trip she’d won over before, took a narrow lead inside the final two furlongs and hung on dourly. The favourite, Madeleine Bond, threw down a challenge but the leader pulled a little further ahead near the end to score by three quarters of a length. Pat Dobbs rode the winner for Richard Hannon.
The Michael Blake team was on target with Bounty Pursuit (4/1 jt fav), a clear winner of the 7f handicap. Unpenalised for a recent success, he surged ahead coming into the final quarter of a mile and quickly put the result beyond doubt. Apprentice Marco Ghiani, taking seven pounds off, was having his first ride at Chepstow. Fantasy Justifier ran a similar race to his win here last week, running on strongly at the end, but he’d met trouble in running and could only finish second, a length and three quarters in arrears.
Four set out for the 5f contest for two-year-olds. The two favourites set off at a brisk pace and probably cut their own throats. They gave a lead to Lexington Rebel (5/2) and he picked them off just inside the final furlong. It turned out to be a comfortable length and a quarter victory over course winner Don’t Stop Dancing, completing a double for Richard Hannon and Pat Dobbs.
After two consecutive runners-up, Ron Harris went one better in the 5f handicap. The seven runners were tightly packed for much of the race and Secret Potion (11/4), on the outside, got a clear run. He powered to the front a furlong out to keep Harris’s good form going, and that of jockey David Probert. He was value for more than the three quarters of a length verdict. Atty’s Edge showed good speed and ran on again late to take second for another local trainer, Chris Mason.
The penultimate race was over the unusual distance of 2m2f. Bernard Llewellyn supplied three of the runners and the top two on the racecard, Arty Campbell (9/1) and Norab, fought out a terrific finish from over a quarter of a mile out. The two veterans were impossible to separate until close to the line, when Arty edged into the lead by a head. Scott McCullagh was the successful jockey.
The concluding event, over 1m4f, featured several unexposed three-year-olds making their handicap debuts. However, the horse with much the best form figures won easily. This was Trouble Shooter (2/1 fav), twice a winner this year. He breezed ahead three out and steadily went clear. Shaun Keightley’s gelding gave Josephine Gordon an armchair ride. Aussie Breeze was flattered to finish just two and a half lengths away in second.