Chepstow racegoers this Monday enjoyed a wonderfully sunny, very warm afternoon. There was a Yorkshire theme to proceedings, with two winners trained there and two others coming from the stable of William Haggas, who was born in that county. The going was good to firm.
A classified stakes over a mile went to the mother and daughter team of Karen and Gemma Tutty from North Yorkshire. Ideal Candy (9/2), possibly helped by the first-time hood, spearheaded the field from the outset and extended her lead in the final furlong to win by two lengths. Zapateado finished second in a race in which few got into serious contention.
The next race was also over a mile, and once again a horse made all the running, extending its lead from a furlong out to win by a cosy two lengths. This was William Haggas’s filly Cosmic Love (7/4 fav), ridden by Liam Jones. Sweet Lady Rose dwelt at the start but ran on steadily at the end to finish second, suggesting that further will suit her.
There was plenty of pace for the 5f handicap and astute form students concluded the race would go to something running on from the back of the field. That’s what happened, but few foresaw it would be Molly Jones (50/1). It was trainer Matthew Salaman’s first winner at Chepstow and her jockey Mark Crehan’s first ride on the course. Broadhaven Honey ran a solid race to finish second, beaten three quarters of a length.
Bbob Alula (15/2) waltzed away with the 7f handicap, joining the leaders two and a half out and being ridden clear by Jason Watson approaching the final furlong. He won by six lengths. His trainer Bill Turner explained that it was the first time this season that he hadn’t met trouble in running. In second was Madame Jo Jo, who is becoming a serial bridesmaid, having been placed four times in a row. She still seeks that elusive first win after 14 tries.
The fifth race was named after Hayley Moore in recognition of the ATR presenter’s much-replayed capture of a loose horse here a month ago. Strangely for an all-aged Chepstow handicap, there were no previous course winners in the field. Also unusual was that a 6f winner should come from the jumping yard of Jonjo O’Neill. Storm Melody (5/1) ran on well from the back to head the pacesetters Monarch Maid and Dodgy Bob with 100 yards to go and, under strong driving from Martin Harley, hung on by half a length.
One of the favourites for the 1m2f race, Deliverance, refused to enter the stalls, but he would have had to be good to prevent Jahaafel (7/2) from opening his account. This grey colt travelled nicely before hitting the front two out and, when asked to extend at the furlong pole, he increased his advantage to six lengths. The leader for most of the race, Dazzling Rock, plugged on for second place. This completed doubles for William Haggas and Liam Jones.
Mark Johnston’s earlier Yorkshire raider had finished only fourth but Juneau (13/2) made the six-hour journey worthwhile by taking the last, a 1m2f handicap. Franny Norton was all out to retain the lead she’d taken with just over a furlong to go, and luckily for him, Groveman’s late run didn’t take him to the front until a stride after the post. Juneau held on by a short head.