2020 Curtain Closer at Chester Racecourse provides Kingscote with a double
Harmony Lil, a 6/1 chance, landed the feature race on the final 2020 card at Chester Racecourse, the Restaurant 1539 Nursery Handicap by a head. Baileys Breathless, ridden by Chester specialist Franny Norton, used draw one to his advantage and set the pace. The winner responded to jockey Richard Kingscote to maintain her gallop and score by a head on the line. “She’s got a good attitude and had a hard time the first couple of furlongs, fair play to her, she didn’t down tools when Franny (Norton) kept coming back at me. This was a step up, it was a competitive race and a tough fight. It’s been a frustrating year, but Chester Racecourse looks after the owners – hats off to them. It’s important they can come – they are supporting us all.”
Kingscote rode a quick double for local trainer Tom Dascombe with a victory aboard 16/1 outsider Wild Edric in the Commonhall Street Social Handicap Stakes. Following the well-worn route of riding the inside rail, Kingscote always had an advantage and despite a prolonged challenge down the straight from Ejtilaab, the partnership won by a head. “He’s shown pace over six furlongs and I was always in a position to fill him up and he was able to tough it out to the finish,” stated the jockey.
Front running tactics were successful in the opener, the Thyme People EBF Novice Auction Stakes. Mere Green, backed down to 5/4 favourite, grabbed the lead from the stalls opening and retained that position throughout. Echo Beach challenged but was three quarters of a length in arears crossing the line. “She’s had a bit of experience and I was drawn two, so I was able to use that. I was on the best animal and round here the best place to be is in front. I went for stamina rather than speed – and she’s done it,” summarised winning jockey Ben Curtis.
“It’s nice to get him back on track, he’s shown a great deal of ability. The fast pace helped him to relax; it was a messy race and I had to commit to cover and then quickened up. He just got a bit tired; but he feels like he’s grown up quite a bit,” explained James Doyle after landing the Horseradish At Home Novice Stakes. Faadiyah set a brisk pace and was the one to catch for the winner, Cape Palace, the 5/4 favourite, who passed the early leader to score readily by one-and-three-quarter lengths.
Lady Sansa continued the run of favourites when landing the White Horse Fillies’ Handicap by one and three quarter lengths. The early leader Lottie Marie faded, and jockey Harry Bentley navigated a clear passage away from the rail and the tactics were successful. Bentley said: “A few gaps appeared, and she was able to pick up and run all the way to the line. I enjoy riding round here.”
The Chester Racecourse, Racing Since 1539 Handicap provided the 9/4 favourite Snow Ocean with a third successive win. Rapid acceleration inside the final furlong left rivals looking flat footed and the winning margin was three and a quarter lengths. “He’s on the crest of a wave, the team have got him in great form. I had a nice draw and the pace was strong. I was always confident with how I was going. He’s a very progressive horse,” said jockey Harry Bentley who was recording a double.
The curtain closer for 2020 was the Horseradish Handicap and first past the post was Buriram, returned at 13/2, and ridden by Silvestre De Sousa. The partnership led into the final straight and held off the challenging Singing The Blues by one and a quarter lengths. “He’s done well, they went a good gallop and the ground was in his favour. He settled well then went on to win,” said the jockey.
Racing at Chester Racecourse is scheduled to return with the three-day May Festival in 2021.
The White Horse Fillies' Handicap Stakes (Class 4)
Distance: 1m 2f 70y | Prize: £9,401
The Restaurant 1539 Nursery Handicap Stakes (Class 2)
Distance: 6f 17y | Prize: £15,510
The Commonhall Street Social Handicap Stakes (Class 2)
Distance: 7f 1y | Prize: £9,401
The Chester Racecourse Racing Since 1539 Handicap Stakes (Class 3)
Distance: 1m 2f 70y | Prize: £13,097
The Horseradish Handicap Stakes (Class 3)
Distance: 1m 6f 87y | Prize: £13,500