What's happening at Brighton

Race Meeting Report - 20 June 2017

Tue, Jun 20, 2017

This Tuesday evening meeting was sunny and very warm. The going was good to firm and there were some close finishes. This was the 40th anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed's first winner, which was Hatta, here at Brighton. She won three more races in the next six weeks, thus beginning the vast investment of Arab wealth into the British racing industry, which continues to this day.

The first race was a 6f event for two-year-olds. Alaska ran pretty well in a similar contest here last week and justified odds of even money by coming with a run on the outside to lead a furlong out. Rivas Rob Roy, who disgraced himself with his antics leaving the stalls in that race last week, ran much better and finished strongly to come second, beaten three quarters of a length. Mitch Godwin rode the winner for Sylvester Kirk.

There was a complete turn-up in the 7f handicap. Five of the six were priced between 2/1 and 13/2 but it was the other one, Moonstone Rock (20/1), who upset the applecart. The Jim Boyle-trained maiden finished last when she ran here a week ago, and today she was last until a furlong out. Then she responded to Charlie Bennett's urgings and nailed Still Waiting and Beepeecee in the last stride. The first-time blinkers must have helped.

Another 7f race produced another good finish despite there being only four runners. David Probert urged Paul Cole's Honiara (13/8) into an early lead and set a decent gallop. He kept it up well and though tiring in the final furlong, his two nearest rivals couldn't quite get past him. Fast Dancer, who was badly outpaced in the first half of the contest, made up a lot of ground in that last furlong and only failed by a neck. The result might have been different if a gap he went for hadn't narrowed at a critical moment.

Niseko seemed to have the 1m2f handicap in the bag when going three lengths clear with a furlong and a half to go, only for Let's Be Happy (3/1) to finish better and collar him three strides before the post. Shane Kelly always kept the winner prominent but she looked held until her superior stamina came into play at the last moment. She won by half a length. Richard Hughes was the successful trainer.

The 1m handicap looked a certainty for Stuart Williams' Lunar Deity (4/9 fav) provided he reproduced the form of his easy Yarmouth win last week. With Milly Naseb on board again, he did just that. Given a confident ride, he took a little while to wrest the advantage from Take A Drop, but once in front with half a furlong left he quickly put two and a half lengths between himself and the runner-up. The winner could run again at Newmarket, his home track, on Friday evening.

The South African rider Gavin Lerena secured his first Brighton win on Mick Channon's Jersey Breeze (4/1) in the 6f handicap. Visored for the first time, the filly led after a furlong or so until surrendering the advantage two out. Nevertheless she battled back well and worried Pushkin Museum out of it in the final 75 yards to score by three quarters of a length.

Andi Brown's small Newmarket yard averages two or three winners a year but tonight he achieved his first at Brighton with Camino (4/1) in the 5f dash. Martin Lane brought her from the rear to edge ahead in the last few yards. Archie Stevens made a valiant attempt to lead all the way but went down, all guns blazing, by a neck.

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Jim Beavis