There was good going for this afternoon’s meeting, whose highlights were a winner for The Queen and three for Luke Morris.
We began with a one mile handicap. Zapateado (13/2) was soon in front and her jockey Luke Morris gradually tacked over to the stands rail. A furlong and a half out he started extending his lead from one length and it soon increased to three. It was Devon trainer Paul George’s third career success, and his first at Chepstow. Yaa Mous was the runner-up.
The next race, also over a mile, was confined to fillies. So Hoity Toity (16/1) is only four and is already on to her fourth trainer, but Ed de Giles has apparently found the key to her. She looked like living up to her name while reluctant to load but in the race she travelled nicely under Kieran O’Neill, shadowing the leader. After a duel with him she was in front a furlong and a half out, and understandably idled a little, which allowed the running-on Stosur to get to within half a length.
The Groove (6/5 fav) won the 7f handicap for David Evans. Rossa Ryan, nicely placed on the stands rail, never had his mount far from the lead and he moved to the front in the penultimate furlong. He drew three lengths clear after that for a convincing victory. It’s Not Unusual pinched second place from Smart Mover in final strides.
There was an upset in the 5f race for two-year-olds, the two market leaders finishing second and third. The ten runners split into two groups, and the quartet on the far side were clearly in front at half way. Luke Morris bagged the rail on Dancing Warrior and entering the closing stages was well ahead of his far side pursuers. The better-fancied K Club and Lady Aria ran on well on the stands side but were three quarters of a length adrift at the line. Morris’s enterprise undoubtedly made the difference, though Dancing Warrior’s trainer William Knight is hopeful his filly can do even better.
Morris employed the same tactics successfully in the next race, a handicap over the same distance. The Brian Baugh-trained mare David’s Beauty (4/1 jt fav) helped by showing good early pace and she was soon on the far rail making the running. Once again the field divided into two groups, and once again the far side had the advantage for most of the way. In the end everyone converged over there, and four were almost in line passing the post. David’s Beauty held on by a head, a nose and a neck from Seamster, Secret Potion and Kingstreet Lady, all of whose supporters will regard themselves as unlucky.
The sixth race was over the marathon trip of two and a quarter miles. Several had chances with three furlongs to go but Massini’s Trap (9/2), whose bright orange cap was very conspicuous, was travelling much the best at that stage. Liam Keniry took him to the front with a furlong and a half to go, only he didn’t find quite as much as expected. Nordenfelt made a race of it before Massini pulled away to score by a length. James Nash trains the winner on The Curragh in Ireland; it was his first Chepstow success.
There were four last-time-out winners out of the five runners in the finale, over a mile and a half, but they had to give best to the other one. The Queen’s Natural History (6/4 fav from 7/2 this morning) made a winning handicap debut, leading throughout. He repelled the challenges of Our Power and Al Kherb before the two pole and galloped right away from them for an impressive eight-length victory. David Probert rode the royal winner for Andrew Balding.