Once again it was a sunny, warm evening at Chepstow with the going good to firm, firm in places. Front runners had a great advantage.
Approaching the final furlong of the opener, a fillies handicap over a mile, it was hard to pick the winner despite there being only four runners. They’d all had a turn in the lead and it was Sary Arqa (11/4), who played up going to the start, who ran on best. Hollie Doyle brought her from last to first to outpoint Aqua Libre by half a length. The filly was having her first run for Archie Watson, whose flying start to his training career – over 100 winners in less than two years – continues.
Holly Doyle was soon on the scoresheet again, for she rode Living Leader (11/1) to victory in the mile handicap. The nine-year-old drew clear with Air Of York in the last quarter of a mile, and though they had a good scrap the old boy always looked to be going slightly better. There was only a neck between them at the line. It was the seventh time the veteran had won for the Grace Harris stable.
Street Parade (4/5 fav) bolted up in the 5f race for two-year-olds, making all the running. Although burdened with a penalty for being a previous winner, he was untroubled to score by eight lengths from One Kiss. Martin Dwyer rode him for Stuart Williams. Lippy Lady made a complete hash of the start and did well to finish third.
The 5f race for older horses also went to a front-runner. Getting a good break is vital for Quantum Dot (6/1), and he got a flier today. Big Lachie threw down a stern challenge approaching the final furlong, but with Callum Shepherd’s vigorous encouragement the leader ran on gamely and won by three quarters of a length, going away at the end. It was the fifth course win for Ed de Giles’s seven-year-old and you couldn’t rule out a few more this year.
Next came the Silk Series race for lady riders over 6f. Gold Hunter (3/1) pulled hard early and Jane Elliott decided to let him stride on from the half mile pole. It was a good move, for he quickly established a two and a half length lead, which he retained all the way to the line. It was a first course winner for Adrian Wintle, who trains at Westbury-On-Severn. Mother Of Dragons plugged on to take second place.
Twice successful in the last ten days, Starboy was fancied to shrug off his double penalty in the 7f handicap but couldn’t quite get to the well handicapped Rastacap (3/1), who had the assistance of seven pound claimer Andrew Breslin. Mark Johnston’s filly made all, galloping on with great zest to win by three quarters of a length. It was the jockey’s first winner at Chepstow.
The finale, over a mile and a half, went to another horse that set the pace. Kath’s Legacy (2/1 fav) went a good clip and had them well strung out turning into the straight, but when Pour L’Amour headed her two out, the writing appeared to be on the wall. Kath had other ideas though, and she fought back to regain the initiative a furlong out, going on to win by a length and a half. It was the first victory of apprentice George Rooke’s career, on only his third ride in public. Having Richard Hughes as his governor should give him every chance of success.