The second half of a two-day meeting took place on a mainly sunny evening. The going was good to soft.
We began with a 5f handicap. Shane Kelly was determined to force the pace on Crystal Deauville (9/1) and his tactics paid off, as he had most of his rivals in trouble coming out of the dip. Forever In Love stayed close without looking like catching the leader, who won by three quarters of a length with a bit in hand. Gaye Kelleway was the successful trainer.
The next race, over the same trip, was contested by a quartet of two-year-olds. Tin Hat, a chestnut with four white stockings, was sent off the 1/4 favourite. His jockey Edward Greatrex had to walk him the last half of the journey to the start but he came back much quicker. Though he showed signs of greenness when asked for an effort a furlong out, he responded and won nicely in the end. Eve Johnson Houghton’s youngster should be capable of improvement, as should Swiss Chimes, who finished just over two lengths away in second.
In the first of a couple of 7f handicaps John Gallagher’s Rivas Rob Roy, not unfancied at 7/1, hit the front fully three furlongs out and soon put daylight between himself and his opponents. He kept going well enough up the hill to repel Chess Move by a diminishing half length. The horse was breaking his duck at the seventh attempt, and it was jockey Joey Haynes’s first turf winner of the year.
Another 7f race followed. Live Dangerously (5/1) repeated last week’s course and distance triumph for the same combination of John Bridger and Kieran O’Neill. He took the lead in the dip and was in command by the furlong pole. Robert The Painter ran on well from the rear and though finishing only half a length adrift he was flattered, as the winner could afford to take it easy. Robert will be better over a mile.
Having her second outing for Olly Murphy, Carraigin Aonair (11/8 fav) was a warm order for the 1m4f handicap but was being scrubbed along by Luke Morris half a mile out. He really earned his riding fee, for he drove the mare into the lead a furlong out and then had to fend off the fast-finishing Tilworth Lukey. There was a short head in it at the line.
Fayrouz Rose (2/1) won her only start in 2017 and maintained her 100% record with a comfortable success in the sixth race, over a mile and a quarter. The Richard Hughes-trained filly breezed into the lead two out and went clear to complete a double for Shane Kelly. Morning Skye was four and a half lengths in arrears. This was only a Class 6 but it was run at a strong pace and the winner could be a couple of grades better than this.
A couple of Brighton regulars fought out the finish of the mile race. Shifting Star (8/1), running for the 157th time, was as enthusiastic as ever and led all the way. Buzz Lightyere laid down a stern challenge against the far rail but the evergreen 13-year-old leader was not for passing. His win by a head was the 18th of his career, and it brought up doubles for John Bridger and Kieran O’Neill.
The finale, over 6f, was won emphatically by Mercers (5/1), who took it up inside the final furlong and strolled to a three and a quarter length victory over Krazy Paving. East Sussex trainer Paddy Butler had conjured two wins from the horse earlier in the year on the all-weather when piloted by Jason Watson, as he was today. The jockey rode a double here yesterday.