No rain for almost a week meant the going for Chepstow’s second flat meeting of the season was good, good to firm in places. Local trainer Bernard Llewellyn sponsored five races in support of the Tenovus, the Welsh cancer care charity, but the fast ground didn’t suit his stable’s runners.
14 lined up for the first race, over the straight mile, but very few got into it. The favourite Dashing Poet led on the stands rail until the furlong pole. There Sir Roderic (3/1), who had shadowed the leader throughout, moved to the front under Oisin Murphy and went away to win by a length and three quarters. Rod Millman was the successful trainer.
Outsiders came to the fore in the 1m novices stakes. Having his third run, Richard Hughes’s Light Up Our Stars (10/1) showed marked improvement, overtaking the pacesetting favourite under gentle coaxing from Pat Dobbs a furlong out. He ran on to a two and a half length victory over the 33/1 shot Zephryrina without the jockey having to get too serious.
In contrast, Flippa The Strippa (2/1 fav) didn’t need to improve much from her Nottingham debut third in order to land the 5f race for two-year-olds. Prominent from the outset, Richard Kingscote urged her into the lead a furlong and a half out. The grey filly, who is trained by Charlie Hills, responded well to hold off a late challenge from the debutant Ivatheengine. That gelding started slowly, losing about four lengths against the others, but ran on well to be beaten by only half a length.
Major Valentine had won ten races for his Gloucestershire trainer John O’Shea before taking today’s 6f handicap at a generous 14/1. His regular pilot, apprentice Kate Leahy, soon had him in an outright lead. A couple of lengths ahead at the two pole, he galloped on strongly and retained that advantage all the way to the line. The Establishment led the rest home.
Rod Millman and Oisin Murphy completed doubles with the decisive success of Master Grey (11/4 fav) in the 2m handicap. The field was quite strung out descending from the back straight, and as the leaders started to flag on the run for home, Master Grey stayed on stoutly. He moved ahead of Panatos with a furlong and a half left, and finished six lengths to the good with five more back to Daghash.
David Evans had a couple of runners-up earlier but made it into the winner’s enclosure with Lady Reset (3/1 co-fav) in the 1m2f fillies handicap. 20/1 when winning here quite easily 11 days ago, she won by almost as far today, again with Rossa Ryan on board. Lady Reset was settled in third for much of the race before starting her run over a quarter of a mile out. She hit the front with a furlong left and quickly drew two and a quarter lengths ahead of Mystiquestar.
Justice was done when the Bernard Llewellyn stable took the 1m4f finale, one of the races he sponsored. Ascot Day (3/1) led after a couple of furlongs and galloped on remorselessly up the home straight. Iconic Girl made up ground in the last quarter mile without looking as though she would get to the leader. Bernard’s son John was on hand to greet the well-supported winner, which was ridden by Stevie Donohoe.