Midsummer Meeting Favours Front Runners and Favourites at Chester Racecourse
“You don’t give away a good draw like that at Chester, that was the plan,” explained winning jockey Seamus Cronin after landing the opening race, the Stella Artois Novice Median Auction Stakes. The 6/4 favourite Ocasio Cortez was smartly away and readily galloped away from his rivals as the field entered the straight, defying top weight to win readily from the staying on Hot Heels by one and three quarter lengths.
Conga was the early pace setter in the MBNA Handicap Stakes but was not able to maintain the pace as Arletta Star made up ground and hit the front at the one-furlong pole. The filly had opened up a margin of four-lengths crossing the line with Cale Lane occupying the runner-up position. Successful jockey Jamie Gormley said: “It was a lovely performance; she travelled well and saw the trip out. The ground and draw all helped.”
The Magners Handicap Stakes provided course and distance winner Angel Alexander, sent off the 2/1 favourite with a further Chester Racecourse success. Front running tactics proved to be key as jockey Alistair Rawlinson used the draw to take up the running and ran the inside rail. The partnership was never headed and accelerated in the closing stages to record a six-length victory. Tom Dascombe, the trainer, summarized the performance, saying: “It was easy watching, but probably harder for the horse. He loves soft ground and was drawn one, it was simple really; you’ve got to have a chance here at Chester, that’s the way it is. He wasn’t stopping, it’s a great day for the owners.”
“From a wide draw I got a lovely position, it was easy for her. I gave her a squeeze and she powered through the ground,” explained jockey Nicky Mackay in the winners’ enclosure following the Corona Fillies’ Novice Stakes. Mackay was aboard the 4/6 favourite Litigious who tracked the initial leader Say Nothing before galloping into the lead. Inclyne challenged down the centre of the track, however the winning margin was still two and a three quarter lengths on the line.
Jockey Luke Catton and Lincoln Park broke quickly from the stalls and the partnership crossed to the inside rail to set the pace in the Bud Light Apprentice Handicap Stakes. The partnership looked to have the race won but this proved not to be the case as a sweeping run down the centre of the course paid off for the 2/1 favourite Be More. “I never thought I was going to get there, but she just picked up and ran on strongly to win,” said the winning jockey William Carver as he went to weigh-in. The margin between the winner and Lincoln Park was three quarters of a length.
Pace setting continued to prove successful in the Goose Island Handicap Stakes as Overhaugh Street, sent off at 7/1, went the shortest way round, and overhauled his rivals to score by three quarters of a length from the fast finishing Diocletian. Shane Grey who did the steering remarked: “He was travelling in front and always in with a chance.”
The Intilery Handicap Stakes was the final race of the afternoon and again the horse at the head of the field was first past the post by three and a half lengths. Taking advantage of the better ground, the field raced off the rail with the 2/1 favourite Dark Lochnagar in pole position throughout with enough in hand to see off the challenge from Gabrial The One by three and a half lengths. The victory provided Shane Gray with a double, he said: “He’s a nice horse and he raced with his ears pricked, he picked up again.”
A crowd of 18,477 enjoyed the afternoon’s racing. One of the most popular fixtures of the season at Chester Racecourse calendar is the next occasion when the gates open on the Roodee for Family Funday on Sunday, 04 August 2019.