The going was good, good to firm in places on a mostly sunny Friday evening. Many encountered traffic problems due to thousands of people heading to the Rolling Stones concert in Cardiff rather than coming to Chepstow to see seven races plus the Counterfeit Stones tribute band.
The first event was a mile and a half race for Arabian horses. The favourite, Mehdaaf Athbah, cruised up to the long-time leader Emiraaty with a quarter of a mile to go and looked set to go on and win easily. That was easier said than done, and it wasn’t until the final 50 yards that Emiraaty capitulated and went down by a length and a quarter.
Two were withdrawn at the start of the 6f race. Dougie Costello got Swanton Blue (5/1) to break well and take an early lead from Shovel It On, and that pair remained in those positions the whole way. The other six never really threatened. The three-quarter length winner was coming off a long break, a situation where he’s won before, and his trainer Ed de Giles is in good form.
The Richard Hannon-trained Balata Bay (5/2) improved on a promising debut to land the two-year-old race over 6f quite comfortably. He disputed the lead before taking over two out and quickly going clear to give apprentice Rossa Ryan his 28th winner of the year. Steeve plugged on for second place, a length and three quarters away. Dutch Treat, bred to appreciate further, ran on late and narrowly missed being placed.
Two non-runners had been announced for the one mile fillies handicap before the second favourite Love And Be Loved got loose when going to post. She was so full of beans that she couldn’t be caught for 20 minutes. That left just four runners and Dashing Poet was made the 10/11 favourite. She pulled hard early, but her jockey Luke Morris had plenty in hand when she hit the front approaching the final furlong, finishing two lengths to the good. Heather Main’s filly was winning for the fifth time. Zaria stayed on to be second.
Though four of the ten in the 7f handicap had recent winning form, none of them came out on top. Wahaab (11/2), from Sophie Leech’s yard near the Forest of Dean, had shown distinct signs of returning to form when third last time out. His jockey David Probert settled him racing alone on the stands rail for most of the race. He moved over to the middle of the track to join the leader Harry Beau in the final 100 yards and crossed the line a nose in front. Dalness Express, the slowest away, was third.
They spread right across the track for the 5f handicap and most of them were in with a chance a furlong out. In the closing stages two on the stands side emerged in front, and it was David’s Beauty (7/2) who held on by a short head from Essaka. The winner, a filly, is one of only three horses that Staffordshire trainer Brian Baugh has to run on the flat. Luke Morris was completing a double.
There was an even closer finish to the 1m4f fillies race, with four of the runners passing the post almost in line. A nose, a neck and a head separated them. The favourite, Queen Of Connaught, was run out of it in the last few strides by a couple of once-raced opponents, Galmarley on her left and Roystonia (25/1) on her right. Louis Steward rode the winner for Hugo Palmer, who was confident that stamina was her forte.
The getting-out stakes, a 1m2f contest, went to the favourite. Bid Adieu (5/4 fav) was running second, very keen, in the first half of the race. He took the lead two out and though challengers were mustering behind him, none were able to get on terms. He kept on well under Finley Marsh to score by a length and a quarter for the Richard Hughes stable. Boycie came out of the pack to take second place.