WAITING FOR THE GAPS TO OPEN ARE SUCCESSFUL SUMMER FESTIVAL RACE TACTICS
Master Zoffany landed the feature race on Summer Saturday, the NationalRacehorseWeek.uk Handicap Stakes, despite being slowly out of the stalls. Just Frank led the field and horses fanned out across the course in front of the stands with four horses abreast. A late surge saw the 4/1 co-favourite gain a three quarters of a length advantage crossing the line, to deny Just Frank. “Richard (Fahey) does well with his horses round here. I wanted to be handy, but I had to sit and wait for the gap to open – that’s the track and they did go a tad quick. He benefitted from stepping up,” summarised jockey Paddy Mathers.
Vermilion Dancer set the early pace in the opener before Aesthete, sent off at 9/4, emerged from the final bend in a prominent position and pulled clear to be a ready winner, by one and three quarter lengths of the Racing Welfare Supporting Racing’s Workforce Novice Stakes. Winning jockey Daniel Tudhope said: “I just got pushed out, it was no problem. The first-time head gear worked a treat.”
“That was most thrilling, my first winner of the season at Chester. He’s won over five, six and seven furlongs here,” said prolific Chester Racecourse supporter Marwan Koukash following a victory in the Retraining of Racehorses Handicap Stakes. The horse he was referring to was one of the 7/2 joint favourites, Gabrial The Devil. In the final strides the winner got up to win by a neck. Jockey Connor Murtagh explained: “I had to hold his place; they went a fast gallop. When I got the split, the race couldn’t have worked out any better.”
“She didn’t quite finish her race last time, so I dropped her in and educated her,” said Daniel Tudhope as he made went across to weigh-in following success in the EBF Maiden Stakes, the second leg of a double for the jockey. His mount, Guest List, returned at 9/2 dwelt at the start and was in arrears as the race unfolded with Graftonat at the head of affairs. Russellinthebushes challenged wide and the course was clear, closer to the rails, for Guest List as she galloped past her rivals to win by a neck.
“It was perfect. I’ve won on him on heavy ground over that trip, so I knew he’d see it out well. He’s in good order and he was carrying 10 stone for a reason – he was the best horse in the race!” was the endorsement provided by jockey Cameron Noble after attending the prize giving of the Mental Health UK Handicap Stakes. Hot Team has set the pace and the field bunched up as the race unfolded. The 7/1 winner, Heart Of Soul came through with a late burst of speed to win by one and a quarter lengths to provide owner Marwan Koukash with a double.
The Horseradish Handicap Stakes covered almost two circuits of the tight Chester Racecourse circuit and the topweight Speedo Boy led the field in single file. The pace eased after a circuit and then Speedo Boy galloped on at the six-furlong marker. Call My Bluff, backed down to 5/2 favourite lived up to his name coming wide and the two principles battled out an exciting finish with the favourite prevailing on the line by a neck. “The front horse had it easy, until they went head to head,” stated the successful jockey David Allen.
The Family Funday Tickets Now On Sales Handicap Stakes was the final race of the afternoon and provided another thrilling finish for the racegoers. Spoof was one of the challengers to pace setter Militia and again the winning margin was a neck. The win provided jockey David Allen with a quick double, he said: “It’s nice to pick a race up in a couple of strides.”
Friday, 09 July and Saturday, 10 July are the next fixture dates at Chester Racecourse this season.