Indomitable, Intransigent and Twin Star contribute to a treble on Day One of the MBNA Autumn Festival at Chester Racecourse for Probert and Balding
“He deserved to get his head in front. He was a little bit anxious in the stalls and got worked up. He’ll definitely be better and stronger next year,” said winning jockey David Probert after landing The Total Fitness / Supporting British Stallions EBF Novice Stakes aboard the 4/6 favourite Indomitable, who lived up to his name as he was impossible to defeat. Love Kisses was the early leader with the winner alongside. Blue Mountain came wider and an exciting battle down the straight ensued. The outcome was subject to a photo finish with the favourite prevailing by a nose.
Intransigent, returned at 13/2, refused to compromise in the Downtown In Business Handicap Stakes as David Probert brought him wide around the leaders into the straight and he made smooth progress to land the race readily by one and a half lengths. “To be fair he hasn’t had the ground this season, it’s always been quicker than the kind of surface today. He was the best horse in the race; a course and distance winner,” commented Probert as he made headed to weigh in.
Jockey David Probert rode a treble as Twin Star shone in the ESL Group Handicap Stakes. Good Time Ahead set the pace and took a route wide of the inside rail, taking advantage of fresh ground. The other jockeys elected to follow in single file. Carrying top weight, Twin Star responded to Probert as he went wide of the leader and opened up a margin of one and a half lengths crossing the line. Probert explained: “He enjoyed the ground. I got him switched off and then wound him up from the three-furlong marker. He’s got a high knee action and hits the ground hard, he did it nicely.” This was Probert’s eleventh win at Chester Racecourse this season. All of the afternoon’s three winners were trained by Andrew Balding.
Sparklealot, ridden by Trevor Whelan and returned at 20/1, lived up to his name when gamely staying on to land the MBNA Nursery Handicap Stakes by a nose from Gabrial The One. The winner made most of the running but rivals were queuing up behind and four horses were almost abreast in the closing stages of the race to provide more excitement for racegoers. Successful trainer Ivan Furtado explained: “We like Chester Racecourse and he doesn’t want to get beat. We weren’t sure about the ground or the trip; it was a tough enough race. He tries hard. We’ll bring him back to Chester next year.”
Runners in the Homeserve Handicap Stakes tracked the early leader Alliteration who faded before the field entered the final straight and Dance Legend went on. Jockey Jamie Gormley aboard 10/3 Mearing closed on the leader and despite hanging left he got up to win by half a length. Gormley said: “He pricked his ears. He’s a good little horse and raced on the bridle, when I asked him to win, he did!”
“There’s a lot of improvement in him, he was just getting a bit lonely in front but he put his head down. He’ll improve mentally and he’s a horse to look forward to,” said Paul Hanagan following a cliff-hanger aboard the 9/5 favourite Deja who carried top weight in The Butcher & Barlow Novice Stakes. Pushed into an early lead Deja maintained the pace and Brisk Tempo didn’t quite live up to his name, occupying second place, a nose behind the winner on the line.
The Racegoers Club 50th Anniversary Handicap Stakes (for Gentleman Amateur Riders) concluded the afternoon and provided a delighted jockey James Harding with his first success at Chester Racecourse aboard the 5/2 favourite Intense Style. Harding brought the winner with a late run to get up by half a length in the final strides from Bell Heather who had gone clear of the field. Successful trainer Les Eyre explained: “You’ve got to ride him that way and he’s done it to the letter. More importantly, he did it. He’s ground dependent and everything went right today.”
Attendance at the meeting was 1% up on the same fixture in 2017 and amounted to 7085.
Day two of the 2018 Autumn Festival at Chester Racecourse, partnered by 32Red takes place tomorrow afternoon on Saturday, 15 September and the first race time is 1.30pm.
A complete schedule of all 2019 fixtures at Chester Racecourse is now available and can be accessed here.