Keeping the revs up for Koukash treble comes Together at Chester Racecourse
Action began at the Together Ladies & Gents Evening with the Knights plc Handicap Stakes (for Lady Amateur Riders). The early pace was set by Rockesbury, with the field stacked up behind to challenge. Carol Bartley brought Salam Zayed wider to get a clear run and the 28/1 outsider passed the leaders to win by one-length from Redarna. Bartley said: “The drop back in trip did the job, they went too fast early on.” Winning owner Marwan Koukash added: “I’m getting to like Chester Racecourse, again! I should get a treble tonight.”
Winner number two for Koukash was courtesy of course and distance winner Gabrial The Tiger, sent off at 9/1 in the Together, Lending For the New Normal, Handicap Stakes. “He’s always been quick out of the gates and I had the rail; they went the pace I wanted,” said successful jockey Paul Hanagan. The winning distance was one and a quarter lengths.
The Eurogold Handicap Stakes was leg three for the Koukash roadshow as Powerallied, the 11/4 favourite, went one better than his second-place last time out on the course. Red Stripes had led the field and was making his way home before Bellevarde closed on his outside. Paul Hanagan had to switch the winner to come wider and surged ahead to win by a head on the line. “I could hear the crowd. He deserved that win. They went quite quick and I had to keep the revs up. He’s very game and you’ve got to go with it,” explained Hanagan.
National League, returned at 11/4, came down the centre of the track and went clear in the final strides to land the MBNA Novice Auction Stakes by three quarters of a length from the pacesetter, Coase. “He’s been a baby and backward. When the gap opened, he ran on well,” explained successful jockey Paddy Mathers.
A lengthy stewards’ inquiry was held following the Together Commercial Finance Handicap Stakes as there was possible interference in the closing stages after the early leader faded and the field fanned out across the course. 4/1 chance Infrastructure, ridden by Rob Hornby, retained the race. Hornby said: “My horse stayed straight, and he won comfortably. He’s got the size and scope to go on and improve.”
Making all the running, Know No Limits, sent off at 11/4, lived up to her name as she made all the running to land the ESL Group Nursery Handicap Stakes. The filly pulled further clear approaching the line to win by two and three quarter lengths from Breguet Man. “The step up in trip helped today,” said winning jockey Richard Kingscote and Colin Gorman, representing the trainer Tom Dascombe added: “The quicker ground didn’t help her last time, she’s been and done it here, she’s a course winner and never had much worry today, she’s genuine. It’s good to have winners at Chester Racecourse.”
Racing concluded with the Amber Energy Fillies’ Handicap Stakes and the race provided jockey Paul Hanagan with his treble. Again, coming wider in the straight proved to be the right choice as three horses raced in line as Miss Ranger challenged the early leader So Near So Farhh. Hanagan outpaced his rivals and pulled clear inside the final furlong aboard the 10/1 chance Nafaayee to open-up a margin of three-lengths. “I’ll sleep well tonight. She switched off nice, and then really came home. It’s the first time I’ve ridden her and my first ride for the trainer. I’m delighted with the day!” was Hanagan’s summary.
The evening fixture was attended by a crowd of 9,802 and racing is staged again tomorrow, Saturday, 13 July at Chester Racecourse, featuring the City Plate.