The going was good for this evening meeting, which had been transferred from Bath. This was something of a surprise for a couple who has booked their wedding at the racecourse on the basis that there it was not a race day. Nevertheless, their happy event went ahead with the added entertainment of a race meeting.
There was a bit of cut in the ground, which was welcomed by many of the winning trainers.
Though only four went to post for the 5f handicap, it was a good race. Glamorous Rocket, second two days ago at Wolverhampton, was quickly away and tried to make all, but she started to run out of gas in the final furlong. Airglow (15/8) was the only one who’d been able to keep in touch and he snatched the lead in the last few strides to win by a neck. Hayley Turner rode him for Mick Easterby, who had two runners at Chepstow tonight having sent only five there in the previous 30 years.
A race for three-year-old maidens over 6f gave David Evans’s consistent The Establishment (5/6 fav) a good chance to get off the mark, especially as he was having his first run after a wind operation. He led all the way but his apprentice jockey Eoin Walsh had to get quite serious in order to scrape home by a neck from Gloweth, who ran her best race to date. Enthaar, who cost 270,000 guineas as a yearling, was disappointing in third.
There were five-course winners in the 16-runner handicap over 6f and two of them fought out the finish. Showmethewayavrilo disputed the lead the whole way and had a very narrow advantage in the final furlong. Fantasy Justifier (11/1) was the only one to come out of the pack and mount a challenge, and under a power-packed finish from David Probert he got up in the last stride to win by a nose. His trainer Ron Harris’s string is in good form.
The seven runners in the next 6f handicap were spread right across the course as they entered the final furlong. It was John Flint’s Field Of Vision (9/2), finishing strongly on the stands side to lead 75 yards out, who took the spoils. Nicola Currie steered him to a half length victory, well away from the congestion on the far side caused by Somewhere Secret drifting to the rail. That one had made most of the running and kept on well for second place.
The next was a Silk Series race for lady riders, run over a mile. The grey Kenstone (9/2) looked threatening before he took the lead with a furlong and a half to go, and Rhiain Ingram kept him going nicely to score by a length. Adrian Wintle’s charge had come back to form at Epsom last time. Weld Al Emarat, who’d led in the middle of the race, kept on at one pace to come second.
Sue Gardner has very few runners on the flat. There was some 33/1 available about Zillion, her handicap debutant in the mile and a half race, but significantly he was returned at only 12/1 and won like a good thing. He’d kept tabs on the horse that set a brisk pace, moved smoothly past him a quarter of a mile out and galloped on strongly to beat The Jean Genie by four and a half lengths. Megan Nicholls couldn’t pull him up afterwards. He is likely to resume his jumping career in the autumn.
The newly-married couple appeared in the paddock in time for the final race, where they were interviewed by ATR presenter Robert Cooper. He offered to find the winner to help cover their expenses and, looking at the groom, suggested Macho Mover (5/2). With just over three furlongs left of the mile and a quarter contest, his selection was last. The seven-pound claimer Scott McCullagh, unfazed by this, weaved through the field, never far from the far rail, and got a gap at the right moment to sneak past the long-time leader Rainbow Jazz in the last 50 yards. He went on to win by a head, to make the happy couple even happier if they took Robert Cooper’s advice.