Symphony and Saint are winners at the Matthew Clark Summer Festival
Symphony played a winning tune in front of 20,452 racegoers at the Chester Racecourse Matthew Clark Summer Festival meeting to land the Pimm’s Novice Stakes and provide trainer James Unett with his one-hundredth training success. Early leader Henritetta’s Dream was making her way home on the opener before being swallowed up by rivals inside the final furlong. Jockey Hayley Turner switched wider to get a clear run with Symphony who responded with a late surge to score by three quarters of a length. “We thought there’d be quite a bit of ammunition in a race like this. She’s made for the job round here, it’s taken her time to grow into herself. Great stuff!” said Unett. Tarporley based trainer Lisa Williamson was responsible for the second, third and fourth placed horses.
Gabrial The Saint rewarded punters who had backed the 2/1 favourite with a half-length victory in the Martini Handicap Stakes. Under the sustained drive of jockey Paddy Mathers, the winner showed determination to sweep past the pace-setter Abel Handy approaching the line. Owner Marwan Koukas, a staunch supporter of Chester Racecourse explained: “This is a six-furlong horse, but I needed a runner and I persuaded the trainer to run him. We sat behind the them and there was going to be some space for him to come through.”
Koukash celebrated a quick double following the Matthew Clark Handicap Stakes. “He was quite impressive; they went a nice gallop and I thought I had them covered. A gap always opens-up when you are travelling. It’s quite fast out there, the ground, and he seemed to love it,” summarised successful jockey Barry McHugh. Jack’s Point ran along side the winner, Gabrial The Wire returned at 7/2, as the race unfolded and the winner kept to the inside rail before opening up a winning margin of two and a half lengths from Barristan The Bold.
“That equals my record of three Chester wins in one day,” said Marwan Koukash after landing the Laurent Perrier Handicap Stakes with Angel Gabrial, trained by Patrick Morris. The half-length victory also provided jockey Barry McHugh with a double at the meeting.
“The ground is rough and quite hard, but he went on it. He’s a tough lad and I thought I’d just got up – but I wouldn’t have wanted to put on bet on it,” was the summary provided by jockey John Egan after landing the CCE Signature Mixers EBF Novice Stakes aboard 7/2 chance Lincoln Blue. There was an exciting finish in front of the stands as four horses raced across the track in a line as the early leader Rodnee Tee faded and a finishing run saw the winner get up by a nose from Sermon.
The Beefeater Original Handicap developed into an exciting duel between Overhaugh Street on the inside rail and Cape Islay, who raced wider and was priced up at 6/1. Half a length separated the two horses as they flashed across the line, the winner was announced as Cape Islay. “We didn’t think she has shown her two-year-old form, but she got into a rhythm today and the ground has dried out since the first race, but everything went smoothly. She’s not very big but she’s tough and we had the run of things at the front,” explained Jack Mitchell, who rode the winner for trainer Mark Johnston.
Canford Bay was sent off at 11/1 and came back the winner by three-quarters of a length in the Magners Handicap Stakes, relegating Powerallied to second place. “He pinged the stalls and travelled easily. He’s not vey big, but he’s all heart. You are always going the extra distance with a wide draw, but he put it to bed easily enough. The sharper the track, the better for him,” explained winning jockey Cam Hardie.
Friday, 12 July is the date of the Ladies and Gents Evening fixture, the next occasion when racing takes place at Chester Racecourse.