Brighton’s third consecutive Tuesday meeting began as a bright warm afternoon, and became a little hazier and cooler as the day went on. The going was good to firm, good in places.
Only four runners contested the opening 5f handicap, but it was a great finish with three of them virtually level battling up the final furlong. The verdict went to Roundabout Magic, who got up in the last few strides to deny Pride of Angels and Foxtrot Knight, the leader all the way up to that point, by a short head and a head. The Simon Dow-trained winner was the 10/1 outsider of the quartet because all his previous victories were on Lingfield’s all-weather track. Nicky Mackay was the successful jockey.
The second race was also over 5f. Pat Cosgrave, riding Soumei (11/4) for Ed Walker, took full advantage of being on the far rail and kicked on at the cutaway two and a half furlongs out to gain a decisive advantage. The others, led by Haylah, reduced the deficit to a length without ever looking like catching him. Hedonism, in third, will come on for the run.
Seven-pound claimer Sebastian Woods travelled from Malton to take the ride on Rae Guest’s Kachumba (9/2) in the 7f handicap. He also went for the far rail and once hitting the front a furlong out his filly kept on well to hold off the challengers, the last of which was River Rule, by half a length.
The 1,000 Guineas-winning combination of Richard Hannon and Sean Levey took the mile handicap with Ateem (13/8 fav). He came on the outside to lead entering the last furlong only to swerve right markedly before being straightened up. He then ran on strongly to beat Spirit Of Belle by two and a half lengths, with a fair gap back to the rest. This three-year-old has talent, for he outclassed this field. However, his whinnying in the parade ring before the race and the erratic path he took during it indicate his mind is not wholly on the job.
Returning to his favourite course, the much-loved grey Roy Rocket bounced back to form with a bang in the 1m4f race. He came with this trademark run down the hill and took up the running two out, but Esspeegee (5/1) was too strong for him in the final furlong. Alan Bailey’s horse was winning his sixth race from his last seven starts – all handicaps – and appears capable of more, as he won this by almost four lengths. He’s now unbeaten in three races at Brighton. It was jockey Darragh Keenan’s first course winner.
The penultimate race on the card was over a mile, and in hindsight it was obvious that the only horse consistently reaching the frame lately should win it. Sharp Operator (7/2) was driven out by William Carson to score by two and a quarter lengths to give Essex trainer Charlie Wallis his first Brighton success. He had to survive a stewards’ enquiry, for Baby Gal had gone ahead on the rail, Joyful Dream had veered right across the course to join her and then the winner rattled past both of them, squeezing up Joyful in the process.
The two 11/8 joint favourites fought out the finish of the finale, which was over 7f. Balgair pulled hard for a lot of the race but had enough energy left to take the lead on the rail with 150 yards to go. Liam Keniry had saved Nutini for a late run and he went ahead inside the final half furlong, and held off the determined Balgair by a head. Malcolm Saunders trained the winner.