Great Scot lives up to his name with a Debut Success and Koukash Records A Treble at Sportingbet Ladies Evening
Great Scot landed the MBNA Maiden Auction Stakes by one and a quarter lengths for Manor House Stables, living up to his name as trainer Tom Dascombe had been surprised by his readiness to run. Jockey Liam Jones was well-placed and his mount had to the pace to pass Axel Jacklin and was returned at 5/1. ‘He did everything wrong, he missed the break and ran with the choke out. It’s all down to my Head Lad, Andy Jackson, I thought he was a month away from a run but Andy said last week, you’ve got to run this horse at Chester, he will definitely win – and he was right! That’s why I let my staff get on with the job,” explained successful trainer Tom Dascombe.
Action commenced with the Sportingbet Apprentice Handicap Stakes and a victory for the 3/1 favourite Lord Vetinari, ridden by Joshua Bryan. The early leader was Prestbury Park but he was overhauled as Bryan brought the winner wide and had a clear run down the centre of the track to open up a margin of one and a quarter lengths crossing the line with Gabrial The Devil finishing in second place. “The ground was a bit quicker than ideal. He likes his own way when he’s in front so it was all about the pace and when I gave him some daylight he loved it,” explained the jockey.
An exciting finish unfolded in front of the stands as top weight Hidden Steps looked to have the Sportingbet/EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap Stakes in the bag with a decisive front-running performance. Inside the final furlong James Sullivan galvanized the 14/1 chance Amazing Michele as she closed on the leader. A photo finish confirmed that the grey had got up by a short head and relegated Hidden Steps to runner-up. Sullivan said: “She stuck her head down and tried; she’s game. The other horse battled again and I wasn’t confident, it was a head down and head up result.”
Rene Mathis, ridden by David Nolan, added to the seasonal tally of Chester Racecourse winners for owner Marwan Koukash with a front-running performance that resulted in a three-quarters of a length success in the Sportingbet Claiming Stakes. “We need to convert some of our second-placed Chester runners this season into winners. This is a horse that genuinely runs to his handicap mark and so he was always in with a good chance,” commented Koukash. No claims were received for the winner.
Predicting that he would have the first two horses, home in the Eurogold Handicap Stakes, Marwan Koukash said: “Well, I was half right!” The 11/8 favourite Gossip Column, ridden by Richard Kingscote, raced comfortably ahead of his four rivals and maintained his gallop to score by two and a half lengths from Macaque.
The meeting closed with The Sportingbet Handicap Stakes and the field were closely bunched entering the final straight. Penwortham, returned the 9/4 favourite, emerged with an advantage for jockey David Nolan, which he maintained to win by one length and provide Marwan Koukash with a treble, who said: “I thought we’d get a four-timer, but we were close!”
Racing makes a prompt return to the Roodee with the Matthew Clark Summer Festival tomorrow afternoon Saturday, 30 June when the first of seven races is due off at 1.55pm. To provide fresh ground for the fixture, General Manager Andrew Morris said: “We’ll move the rail out by four yards between the six furlong and one furlong markers. Any overnight watering will be to maintain current ground conditions which everyone has been happy with.” The popular fixture was attended by a crowd of 10,678 racegoers.