Franny Norton turns a bad draw into a good draw and rides a treble at Chester Racecourse on Halewood Summer Saturday.
Chester Racecourse maestro Franny Norton “turned a bad draw into a good draw,” according to successful trainer Mark Johnson following a one and three quarter length success in the opener of the Halewood Summer Saturday, the Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Novice Median Auction Stakes with Marie’s Diamond, returned at 9/4. At the head of the field for much of the race Norton sent the colt on in the straight and the second horse home, Gabrial The Wire was unable to close the advantage. The winners’ enclosure was packed with enthusiastic members of Middleman Park Racing LXXXVI to celebrate the success. “It was a great performance from that draw; Franny got across in the first 50-yards and held prime position. He wasn’t doing a lot in front,” added Johnston.
The City of London Handicap Stakes provided jockey Franny Norton with a quick double aboard 9/2 chance Berkshire Royal. Morning Wonder pulled his way to the front and was making his way home before Norton brought his mount wide and he closed the gap to land the race by a neck from Heart Of Soul. “They went a good gallop then it was a matter of picking him up, which he did!” said Norton.
Racing drew to a close with the Crabbies Whiskey Handicap Stakes and punters supported Franny Norton who duly obliged with a treble aboard the 15/8 favourite Lorelina. Norton went the shortest way round into the final straight to overhaul the two pacesetters Corton Land and Envoy.
Norton aside, Bush Beauty, ridden by Shelley Birkett, reaffirmed her ability to act round the bends of the Roodee when landing the Whitley Neill Handcraft Gin Fillies Handicap for a second time; a success she first recorded in 2016. “She likes the course and won this race two years ago,” explained successful trainer Eric Alston. “I said to Shelley go round the inside and if she got blocked in it would be my fault!” Birkett followed instructions and was able to overall the leaders to record a one-length victory from Lady In Question.
“This is my second winner here at Chester Racecourse. She pinged the gate. There was a lot of pace in the race and I saved ground on the inside. Luckily it all went according to plan,” said Nicola Currie after dismounting from Gold Filigree the two-length winner of the Liverpool Organic Gin Handicap. Fool For You occupied second place.
Liam Jones rode the 25/1 outside, Ice Canyon to victory in the Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Handicap Stakes, following an exciting finish with four horses across the track in front of the packed stands. The judge called a photo finish and a head separated the first three home, Ice Canyon, Andok and Maghfoor. “It’s been a long time coming, I’ve got the guns, but no bullets!” said trainer Mark Brisbourne. “He’s a Godolphin reject and he’s been promising and promising. He pulled hard at Haydock last time out. The first time hood has done no harm and he’s a well handicapped horse now,” the trainer remarked.
“It’s catch me if you can,” said Joshua Bryan after landing the Aber Falls Welsh Gin Handicap Stakes with Zac Brown,a 14/1 chance. The winner did kick on entering the straight and despite drifting away from the rail was a ready winner by three quarters of a length from Confessional. “That is my first winner at Chester. He’s got good form on the all-weather and shows his best form if he jumps out quickly. We were last to load so he was calm today,” explained the jockey.
Attendance at the meeting was 19,341.
The next fixture coming up the 2018 Chester Racecourse season covers two days and features the popular Sportingbet Ladies Evening on Friday 29 June when racing commences at 5.55pm, followed by the Matthew Clark Summer Festival on Saturday afternoon on 30 June.