19 July 2018
Yet again a Chepstow race day was sunny and warm. Watering had kept the going no worse than good to firm.
Andalusite’s gallant attempt to make all in the opening one mile handicap and land a gamble from a morning 14/1 to an SP of 7/2 was foiled by Charlie Hills’s Makambe (7/4 fav). Despite not liking the downhill stretches, the latter responded to very strong driving by Callum Shepherd to wear down the leader in the last 50 yards and win by half a length.
In a blanket finish for the 7f handicap, Watch Tan, Imbucato and Jacksonfire all had moments when they looked like winning, but it was Captain Sedgwick (9/4 fav) who snatched the lead in the final half furlong. The more than capable Jane Elliott rode John Spearing’s filly, who hadn’t run badly when fourth at Nottingham last time out and had been dropped two pounds by the handicapper. Imbucato was the half length runner-up.
The Archie Watson-trained Royal Ascot seventh Rockin Roy (1/2 fav) won the 6f race for two-year-olds. He led at halfway and was never in danger afterwards, coming in a length and a half ahead. Oisin Murphy was at pains not to ask for any more than necessary on the firm ground, knowing he is being aimed at York’s Gimcrack Stakes in August. The 20/1 shot Sir Victor made significant improvement from his debut run to deprive Critical Data of second.
Five went to post for the 6f handicap and they all had chances a furlong out. The less fancied of John O’Shea’s pair, Kinglami (14/1), made a lot of the running. He was passed by the favourite Gold Hunter a furlong out and fought back, only for another challenge to come on his other side from Field Of Vision. Most of Kinglami’s ten previous successes had been on soft going, but going down to the start his jockey Rossa Ryan found a strip of track that he went well on. He raced back on the same line and won by a head.
The eleven-runner 5f handicap looked wide open. Swendab broke well, which he doesn’t always do, and led till the furlong pole. The consistent Jaganory (11/4 fav) challenged and edged ahead, Swendab fought back and headed him only for Jaganory to regain the lead in the last 50 yards to prevail by a head. Nicola Currie rode the winner for Chris Mason, who trains just four horses down the road at Caewent.
A mile and a half race for apprentices went to John O’Shea’s General Brook (5/2), who had the appealing form figures of 021122. Rossa Ryan set a brisk pace on him and kicked on with more than a quarter of a mile to go and soon had an unassailable four length lead. Zoffany Bay was the only one to come out of the pack and closed the gap to three quarters of a length at the line. Both trainer and jockey were completing doubles.
A very strong pace was set in the 1m2f handicap that ended proceedings. Inevitably the front runners dropped out, allowing course winner Show Of Force (9/4 fav) to take over with the best part of three furlongs to go. She galloped on willingly to score by two and a half lengths from Branscombe who, unusually for a Mark Johnston horse, didn’t look particularly resolute. Rob Hornby rode the winner for Jonathan Portman.