What's happening at Brighton

Race Meeting Report - 3 August 2016

Wed, Aug 3, 2016

The first day of the Brighton Festival was windy and bright. After recent rain the going was good to soft, soft in places, though it dried out as the afternoon went on.

Only three went to post for the 5f nursery. Quench Dolly's trainer John Gallagher made a good case for her in a TV interview just before the race and she came in for late support, being sent off the 2/1 second favourite. Michael J Murphy was keen to lead on her and she made all the running, responding to pressure when Lightoller came with a challenge to draw away for a length and a half success.

The 7f maiden proved straightforward for the clear form choice Haulani (4/7 fav), who brushed aside the pacesetters two out and sauntered to a five length victory over Star Of The East. Willie Twiston-Davies rode the winner for Pulborough trainer Philip Hide.

Recent form was in short supply for the runners in the 1m4f seller, but something had to win it. Though Little Orchid and Elle Rebelle led going into the dip, Goal (5/1) was travelling ominously well just behind them, and when Willie Twiston-Davies asked him to go a furlong out he strolled seven lengths ahead of Elle Rebelle. This was Goal's twelfth career success, but his first for his current trainer Sally Randell, for whom it was a first winner on the flat.

The feature race of the season, the John Smith's Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy, was as competitive as ever. The lead changed frequently in the closing stages, with Pick A Little and Pour La Victoire both putting their noses in front in the final furlong. However, it was Cricklewood Green (12/1) who took the spoils. He had been reluctant to enter the stalls but he was very game when squeezing through two tiny gaps in the last furlong to lead in the last 50 yards. It was a daring ride on the winner by seven-pound claimer Mitch Godwin. Beaten half a length and a neck into second and third were Pick A Little and Pacolita. Sylvester Kirk trained the first and the third.

The 7f handicap had just three runners, and in such races enterprising riding tactics can be key. Bajan Rebel enjoyed an easy time in front until two and a half furlongs out, when Shane Kelly galvanised the outsider Elusive Ellen (7/2) into the lead. It looked like the others were caught unawares, and Kelly was able to steer the mare over to the rail to take a decisive advantage. The other pair came back at her but couldn't get closer than a length and a half, Volition filling the runner-up berth.

A drop back to 1m2f suited the unexposed Iballisticvin (11/2), ridden by Noel Garbutt for Gary Moore. He came alongside Ahraam a furlong and a half out and took the lead 150 yards out, keeping on well to score by a length and three quarters. Ahraam held on to second from the running-on Fenner Hill Neasa, who had started slowly.

It was hard to choose between three of the quintet contesting the 6f finale, but late money for William Haggas's Oasis Moon (11/4 into 15/8 fav) proved inspired. After four very modest runs, drops in trip and class plus the easier going were all in her favour. Tahiti One led from flagfall till the half furlong pole, when Jim Crowley eased the favourite past for a comfortable two length victory.

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Jim Beavis