Ladies Evening | Chester Racecourse

Ladies Evening

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 16:30
Raceday Report

Aces high for Norton as he nails rival at White Oak Ladies Evening

“I’ll settle for a dead heat.  I thought I’d nailed him, then he came back,” was the view from jockey Franny Norton after a photo-finish was announced as two horses flashed across the line in the ESL Group Claiming Stakes, part of the White Oak Ladies Evening meeting.  Theodore Ladd, aboard Call Out Loud added: “I think we’ve won, but I’ll settle for a dead heat.”  Neither jockey was confident enough to go back in the winners’ enclosure as the horses were unsaddled.  After the judges had completed their assessment, top weight Aces, returned at 7/2 and ridden by Norton, was announced the winner by a nose.  Call Out Loud had set the pace, but Aces was closing with every stride and had sufficient momentum to outpace his rival by the minimum margin.

“He missed the break, the pace wasn’t that quick, a gap opened up and he did it nicely.  He enjoys coming through horses, the cutaway was a help today. That is my first winner for Roger Varian” summarized jockey Nicola Currie after landing the White Oak UK Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap Stakes.  Harvey Dent headed the field throughout the seven-furlong trip and was overhauled in the final strides by Sezim, returned at 3/1.

The MBNA Maiden Auction Stakes provided an exciting finish as the long-time leader Kings’ Caper was subject to a prolonged challenge by first past the post, Sesame Birah; the filly prevailed by a head crossing the line.  “She was a bit green and tried to lug in, I don’t think there was much interference and she was always going to hang on,” explained Danie Tudhope who was aboard the 7/2 winner.

“She’s beautifully bred and we thought this trip would suit her and I rode her positively.  She’s lugged a lot of weight today and she’s improving,” said jockey Rob Hornby in the winners’ enclosure following the Edward Bryan Jones Memorial EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap Stakes.  Hornby was referring to Ocala, returned at 5/1.  The pace setter was Bell Heather, however the winner came with a sustained run down the centre of the track and Nearooz also made up ground to finish in second place, half a length in arrears.

 The Close Brothers Handicap Stakes resulted in a three-quarters of a length victory for Penwortham, are relative outsider in the betting at 16/1.  Gabrial The Tiger and Sparklealot were vying for the lead but were unable to maintain the pace as the winner accelerated clear in the final strides.  “They went very quick and I had to sit last but they went so hard.  To be fair, he is made for races like that round here, he switches off,” explained successful jockey Tony Hamilton.

Racing drew to a close with the Chester Bet Handicap Stakes.  Mokammal carried top weight to win by one and a quarter-lengths after tracking the long-time leader Conundrum and go the front in site of the winning post.  Jockey Colm O’Donoghue said: “I’m delighted. He settled and travelled well.  He’s improved mentally and that was a good performance, we were happy coming here.”

Attendance at the evening fixture amounted to 9,512 and racing returns promptly to Chester Racecourse with the Summer Festival Meeting tomorrow, Saturday, 29 June.  They’re off in the first at 2.00pm and the feature race on the card is the Class 2 Matthew Clark Handicap.

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