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Race Meeting Report - 10 August 2017

Wed, Aug 16, 2017

Day two of the Brighton Festival of Racing, Ladies Day, was a much brighter day than the first. The going was good to firm, firm in places.

We began with a shock result in the 7f seller. The outsider of the nine runners, Lutine Charlie (28/1), led soon after the start and stayed there most of the rest of the way. He looked as if he had been caught a furlong out but battled back into the lead and had a head to spare from the late challenge of Corporal Maddox. It was the ten-year-old's third win here, Buckinghamshire trainer Emma Owen's first, and Martin Dwyer's second of the meeting. There was no bid for the winner.

Dual course winner Upavon (11/8 fav) snatched victory in the 5f handicap in the last stride, depriving the pacesetting Bronze Beau by a nose. Fran Berry did well to keep him straight and galvanise him to such good effect. Stuart Williams's seven-year-old has now won 11 of his 46 races.

Next was a one mile maiden for two-year-olds and a rarity for Brighton, a two horse race. On the book there was no way the 1/16 favourite Macaque could get beaten, and when he coasted into the lead two out it was game over. Both riders soon accepted the situation and they cantered to the finish in their own time, 24 lengths apart. Andrew Balding and David Probert will never have an easier winner.

Today's big race, the Marathonbet-sponsored Brighton Challenge Cup, resulted in a convincing victory for Mark Johnston's improving three-year-old filly Curlew River (4/1). The Yorkshire trainer has often targeted one or other of this meeting's feature races. Carrying a big weight against more experienced handicappers, Curlew River made all the running under Joe Fanning and had all her rivals in trouble going into the dip. Sir Jack was the only one who could stay anywhere near her, but the filly kept going impressively and the style of her four and a half length victory suggests a better class handicap or maybe even a Listed race might be within her compass.

The next, over 7f, was one of the Silk Series, a set of races confined to professional and amateur lady jockeys. Paul Cole's course and distance winner Honiara (11/4), ridden by Megan Nicholls, was one of three that charged up the straight in line. There was little between them until the last 50 yards, when Honiara finished the strongest to beat the Kempton all-weather specialist Believe Me by half a length.

Marie Josephe made a bold bid to lead all the way in the 1m2f fillies handicap. She found more when challenged by Impressive Day (12/1), only for the latter to reply in kind and hit the front in the last few strides. Timmy Murphy had been happy to hold up the Gary Moore-trained filly and distance winner, who was suited by the decent gallop set by the eventual runner-up.

A one mile handicap wrapped up proceedings and some familiar faces filled the frame. Philip Hide's Buzz Lightyere (13/8 fav), hampered here yesterday, was soon prominent and had a clear passage this time. He couldn't overhaul the leader, Live Dangerously, until the furlong pole, by which time Pick A Little loomed alongside. Buzz, yet another course and distance winner, ran on the best of the pair under David Probert to score by a neck and recoup yesterday's losses.

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Jim Beavis