It was another fine day at Chepstow races. Memories of the wet spring are fading; today’s going was good to firm after watering. The day was also memorable for the way ATR presenter Hayley Moore caught a loose horse in front of the stands, grabbing the reins and being dragged along the ground before it would stop.
A 6f race for two-year-old fillies began proceedings. The good start to the season for Mick Channon and Charles Bishop continued when their 16/1 debutante Swinging Jean won despite being slowly away. Pushed along from two out, she came out on top in a three-way photo by a head and nose. Welcoming and Summer Blossom were a head and a nose away. Early Edition, Sir Mark Prescott's first juvenile runner of the year, ran a respectable fifth in front of most of her 20 owners.
The veteran French jockey Gerald Mosse, making his Chepstow debut, finished down the field in the one mile handicap. Grace Harris’s stable has been in fine form lately but nobody could have predicted her maiden Tally’s Son (66/1) would win from 11 pounds out of the handicap. Cameron Noble got him into an early lead before going for home three out. Keeper’s Choice headed him inside the last furlong but Tally’s rallied under to pressure to win by a head.
The recent Brighton winner Kachumba (6/1) made it two in a row in another exciting finish to the 7f handicap. Rae Guest’s filly took the lead entering the final furlong only for five challengers spread across the track to close in on her. Dane O’Neill kept her going to hold on by a neck and a short head from Madame Jo Jo and Jazzy Girl.
Grace Harris can do no wrong and she and Cameron Noble completed a double when Bungee Jump (4/1) took the 6f handicap by making all the running. She was driven clear with a furlong to go and could afford to be eased down at the very end. Operative ran on to get to within a length and three quarters.
The fifth race, a 1m2f fillies handicap, was named in honour of our departing clerk of the course, Keith Ottesen. Delirium (9/1) won it, giving trainer Ed de Giles compensation for his second place with Operative half an hour earlier. She took over from the long-time leader Midnight Mood approaching the final furlong, only to edge across to the centre of the track. However, when Callum Shepherd finally straightened her up she ran on again to finish a length and a quarter ahead of Iconic Belle, who’d kept to the far rail.
The sixth was a 1m4f novices race, for three-year-olds and up who have run no more than six times. On the basis of his debut second at Salisbury the John Gosden-trained Almoghared was understandably made 10/11 favourite. Double-seeking Dane O’Neill brought his mount from midfield to join Podemos three out. The pair drew well clear of the rest and had a good battle; it wasn’t until the last 75 yards that Almoghared’s stamina came into play. He won by half a length, and could run next in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.
Paul Nicholls had his first ever juvenile winner here a week ago, ridden by his daughter Megan, and the same combination won this afternoon’s finale over a mile and a half. Volpone Jelois (5/2) led at the furlong pole and was pushed out to score by two and three quarter lengths from Bid Adieu. He has finished in the money on all but one of his 19 starts for the syndicate that owns him, including three wins. He’s now off to the Doncaster sales.