Chester Racecourse “starts straight away, building for next year – there’s a lot happening” says Chief Executive following the Seasonal Finale
Despite carrying top weight and being drawn wide from stall ten Barristan the Bold, returned at 9/4, had the pace to open a up a margin of three-lengths when landing the Boodles EBF Novice Auction Stakes and start the afternoon’s action. Racing behind the leaders, jockey Liam Jones brought the horse wide to accelerate past Water Diviner. Jones said: “He had a little look when he got to the front,” but this did not deter from his performance. Winning trainer Tom Dascombe added: “It’s not often a horse wins from a double figure draw here. He’s a class horse and did it nicely. He’s been a slow learner and I’d said to Liam don’t let him be slow to get into his stride. The race fell into his lap and we’ll give him a bit of time now, he’s quite tall.”
Celebrating his victory at Chester Racecourse, jockey George Wood explained: “We don’t have many runners here. It’s harder to pick a horse up on the turn but he got across on the curve and turning into the straight I was confident he was going to win.” Wood was referring to 10/1 chance Ptarmigan Ridge, the three-quarters of a length winner of the MBNA Handicap. Baltic Prince was the pace-setter but was unable to maintain the pace as the winner swept through and was followed home by Intransigent.
The Golden Square Shopping Centre Nursery Handicap developed into an exciting finish as jockey Shane Gray brought Princes Des Sables round the outside of the leaders and recorded a winning margin of half a length from Fognini. In the early stages Sparkealot raced alongside Fognini before being overhauled by the winner who was recording a fourth successive victory. “It was a bad draw but she cut in as I was trying to get a clear run. She ran very well and it’s great to be here,” summarized Gray.
“My instructions were to make the running because all he does is gallop, but Liam wanted the lead too and the early pace was fast. They did steady but when we quickened again, I knew he’d stay,” explained jockey Ben Robinson as he made his way to weigh in after a successful ride aboard Mukhayyam in the Peter Wilson Handicap. The winner was returned at 5/1 and crossed the line one length in front of Lunar Jet.
Front running tactics paid off by a nose for Trevor Whelan and Rockesbury in ESL Group Novice Stakes. The 8/11 favourite, carrying top weight, Alkhawaneej Boy had a clear run out wider and only just failed to get up on the line. Limping back into the winners’ enclosure Whelan said: “the horse ran well but he jinked while I was pulling up and I went down.”
Fresh Terms looked to have opened up a winning margin as the field entered the straight in the ChesterBET Fillies’ Handicap. However the field closed and the judge announced a photo finish which revealed that Ebqaa, a 33/1 outsider, ridden by Liam Jones had got up by a short head. Winning trainer James Unett said: “I didn’t think she’d won. She needs softer ground and a longer trip, we brought her here for a run, it’s fantastic. I gave her a break in the summer because the ground was so firm. She’s from a good family and has form here. We’ll keep her going now,”
Faithful Mount was sent into an early lead by jockey Kieran O’Neill in the curtain closer, the 1539 Handicap and retained that position to win the race by two and a half lengths from Al Destoor. The performance broke the previous course record. O’Neill said: “He’s good, I got a breather into him and then said go again!”
The meeting was attended by a crowd of 15,597 and the annual attendance at all fixtures totalled 267,370. Chief Executive Richard Thomas, reflecting on the season, said: “We’ve had good racing all season but the attendance has been fairly static overall; during the World Cup people weren’t going racing so much. We start straight away building for next season. There’s a lot happening including our planning application to take Chester Racecourse forward over the next ten to fifteen years.”
Tickets for all 2019 fixtures are available from Monday, 1 October; full details can be viewed on the Chester Racecourse website.