A big crowd turned out for Caribbean evening at Chepstow, many of them dressed for the occasion. The going was good to firm, firm in places and though cloudy it was mild and stayed dry during the racing. Luke Morris rode a double, on a night when many of the winners were very clear-cut.
With a steel band greeting racegoers, it was appropriate that Mister Musicmaster (8/1) won the first race, although he wouldn’t have come into most form students’ calculations. It had been almost a year since Ron Hodges’s nine-year-old last won, and he ran poorly at Bath two days ago. With only two furlongs of this one mile contest left he was in last place, but his jockey Finley Marsh got a great tune out of him and he ran on well to pass Roman Warrior with 75 yards to go. Three quarters of a length was the winning margin.
The 6f race for two-year-olds went to Roger Varian’s filly Thriving (7/4), who made all the running against the near side rail. From the two pole she pulled further and further clear to finish five lengths ahead of Shaffire. She was impressive, seeing as she was giving weight to her opponents, and a good spare ride for Luke Morris to pick up.
Last-time-out winner Poyle Charlotte (4/11 fav) made hard work of what the market thought should be a straightforward task in the 7f fillies handicap. Harry Bentley had to give her maximum encouragement for her to see off Summerseat Mist and she didn’t hit the front until the final half furlong. Only then did she look at her ease, coming in three quarters of a length ahead. Trainer Ralph Beckett has won this race three times in the last five years.
Glamorous Dream (11/10 fav) bolted up in the next, another 7f contest. She had the best recent form, a win three runs ago at Salisbury, and dominated this small field comfortably. She led from the start, and when David Probert asked for more two out she went further ahead and bounded on to a four length victory over Madame Jo Jo.
Quantum Dot (7/2) scored for the sixth time here in the 5f handicap. Ed de Giles’s seven-year-old usually needs to lead early but this time Callum Shepherd brought him from behind with a great run against the stands rail to get his head in front inside the last furlong. He won by a length, with a little bit up his sleeve. He still seems to be improving and has every chance of increasing his tally this year. Secretinthepark finished best of the rest in a blanket finish for second place.
Season after season Sir Mark Prescott excels with three-year-old handicappers like Timoshenko (1/3 fav), who extended his winning sequence to four in tonight’s race over two miles. Luke Morris was in the happy situation of being able to choose his moment when to take the lead, and did so two and a half furlongs out. Timoshenko scampered four lengths clear and Morris, mindful of the horse’s handicap mark, was able to ease down to half that distance. Aristocracy, the runner-up, ran well off a ten month absence for his new trainer Fergal O’Brien.
The last race, over a mile and a half, cut up to just three runners and became an easy task for John O’Shea’s General Brook (6/5 fav), who was winning for the fifth time in 2018. He arrived at the start first, left the stalls first, made all and finished first. Rossa Ryan rode the six-length winner. The other pair fought a good duel for second place; Innoko mastered Just Right by a short head.