What's happening at Brighton

Race Meeting Report - 25 April 2017

Tue, Apr 25, 2017

Brighton's second meeting of the season took place on a gloriously sunny, albeit chilly evening. The going was good to firm.

The first race was for two-year-olds over 5f, and there was a great finish, with Milton Road overhauling the front-running Declarationoflove with just over half a furlong to go. However, Diamond Pursuit (3/1) was in hot pursuit too and this Jo Hughes-trained filly was soon alongside and John Egan got her nose in front as they passed the post. A short head was the winning distance.

The favourite for the 7f handicap, Quiet Warrior, took an early lead and held it until joined two out by Tulip Dress (10/1), who stormed ahead entering the final furlong under William Carson. She won with more in hand than the two length winning margin suggests. William's father Anthony Carson was the successful trainer.

Another 7f handicap followed. Coronation Day, who'd set a scorching early pace before slowing things down mid-race and then quickening out of the dip, looked as if she might last home. The only one who could pursue her was the ultra-consistent Ice Age (11/4 fav), and he took the lead with half a furlong left, establishing a two and a quarter length advantage by the time he passed the post. Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton had three runners at Brighton tonight and the booking of Robert Winston for Ice Age certainly proved significant.

The five-time course winner Roy Rocket (8/1) became disappointing towards the end of last season but the combination of the handicapper's leniency, a good gallop, the return in the saddle of John Egan and being back at Brighton worked in his favour in the 1m2f handicap. He came with his trademark run from the back of the field to collar Russian Reward over a furlong out and score with some ease, accompanied by the biggest cheer of the day. After being led in by his trainer John Berry, the length and three quarters winner posed for a number of photographs for his owners and several admirers in the crowd.

Andalusite (5/1) led before halfway in the one mile race confined to horses that hadn't won twice, and when her jockey Fergus Sweeney kicked on coming out of the dip it was soon apparent that she wasn't for catching. With her trainer John Gallagher offering considerable vocal encouragement in the grandstand, she galloped on to a three and a half length victory. It was her first win, at the 16th attempt. Ettie Hart plugged on into second place.

A course and distance winner a year ago, Stormbound (5/2 fav) repeated the feat in good style in tonight's mile handicap. Wearing the unmissable bright green colours of owner-trainer Paul Cole, David Probert brought him to challenge the pacesetting veteran Jonnie Skull in the penultimate furlong, and then forged four lengths clear.

The final event was a 6f handicap. There's often at least One Big Surprise when you go racing, but the Richard Hughes-trained mare of that name had plenty of supporters; in the morning her odds had been double that of her 4/1 starting price. Although her jockey Shane Kelly obtained the benefit of a clear run against the far rail, they needed maximum effort to edge out the equally determined Bahamian Sunrise by a head.

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Jim Beavis