This afternoon’s Chepstow race meeting was not in anybody’s diaries; it was transferred at short notice from Bath, owing to the difficulty the latter has been having this summer with firm ground. The going was good, good to firm in places, with bright intervals and a breeze helping to dry the ground further.
Early birds saw the grey Vindetta take the Arabian horses’ mile and a quarter handicap by two lengths, ridden by Mr James Harding and trained by Adam Newey.
Punters may have wished they’d ignored the first thoroughbred race, a 6f apprentices handicap, as it was won by the 25/1 shot Jacksonfire, who had failed to win in 36 previous outings. He suddenly picked up the bridle a furlong and a half out and weaved a way through the field and, in a bunch finish, hit the front in the last 50 yards. It was the first time Laura Coughlan had ridden for trainer Michael Mullineaux, and it was her fourth career winner. Perfect Symphony and Kinglami filled the places half a length away.
Tom Dascombe’s juvenile Sir Victor (2/5 fav) ran well here a few weeks ago and was a warm order for the 6f maiden, where he obliged by three and a half lengths under Richard Kingscote. Superseded made a race of it till a furlong and a half out, but he’d run too keenly for his own good early on and had no energy to spare for the business end.
Ali Stronge’s He’s Our Star (11/8 fav) came into the mile handicap in good form and scored despite being unsuited by the slow pace. He knuckled down well in response to Harry Bentley’s urgings and took the lead off Is It Off 150 yards out to win by a length.
Some very familiar equine faces contested the 5f handicap and today it was the Ron Harris-trained Broadhaven Honey (11/4) who came out on top. She broke well, but was restrained by Adam Kirby until asked to improve inside the last quarter mile. She took the lead off the early leader Swendab at the furlong pole and held off the late challenge of Jaganory by a length and a quarter.
Victory Chime (5/4) made all the running in the 1m2f handicap. Once he’d seen off the challenge of Poet’s Prince a furlong out he still had enough in hand to deny the late thrust of Rotherwick by half a length. Harry Bentley rode the winner for Ralph Beckett.
Fresh Terms (6/4 fav) has been knocking on the door and broke her duck at the sixth attempt in the 1m2f fillies handicap. She led from the outset, but her advantage had diminished to only a head at the line, Camomile Lawn having stayed on steadily from the two pole. This completed a treble for Harry Bentley and a double for Ralph Beckett.
The last event of the day produced the easiest winner. Praeceps (11/8), from the Sir Mark Prescott stable, shadowed the leader for much of this 1m4f race until being ridden into the lead by Ryan Tate almost half a mile out. From that moment the contest was over, as the others were all hard at work, and Praeceps went well clear, finishing nine lengths ahead of Master Grey. The winner will probably be turned out again soon under a penalty.