Brighton’s third September Monday meeting was cloudy and reasonably mild. The course had been watered to keep the going good to firm, good in places.
Pour La Victoire’s attempt to secure an eleventh course victory in the 6f handicap was thwarted by a horse having his first run at the track. Jim Crowley held Motagally (9/4 fav) up for a late run, and when he was sent ahead 150 yards out he proved much too good for this field. Two lengths behind the Charlie Hills-trained winner, Pour La Victoire finished well ahead of the rest.
They went off fast enough for the 7f juvenile maiden and this allowed Never In Red (9/2), initially restrained by Kieran O’Neill, to make his way through the tiring leaders and hit the front approaching the furlong marker. He had a length and a half in hand of Grace Note at the line. It was Robyn Brisland’s first winner as a trainer at Brighton.
When Sir Mark Prescott has a runner in a seller it pays to sit up and take notice. In such a race today, over 1m2f and confined to apprentices, his Ramatuelle (5/2 fav) obliged with ease. Gavin Ashton kept her against the rail while the rest of the field fanned out descending into the straight, and she galloped on merrily under a featherweight to score by four lengths from Born To Reason. She was sold at the auction for £5,500. Diviner, the filly who finished fourth, beaten eight lengths, was sold later for £500 more. It will be interesting to compare their future careers.
In the 1m4f handicap Gary Moore’s King Athelstan (5/2 fav) was down to a mark from which he’d won before. Backed to repeat that effort, he came from the rear to overhaul It’s How We Roll and Millie May in the final hundred yards under a strong drive from Hector Crouch. The winning distance was a length and a half.
Peter Hiatt used to send quite a few winners to Brighton from his Oxfordshire base. Though he has fewer runners here nowadays, his Baashiq (13/2) reminded us of the old days by taking the mile handicap. Liam Keniry employed new tactics on him, bowling along in front. He had all his rivals at full stretch two out, when he was two lengths up, and maintained that advantage to the line. The favourite, Turntable, kept going to finish second.
The last two contests went to combinations familiar with success on the course in more recent times. The consistent De Little Engine (11/4) took the 7f race for Alexandra Dunn and Rossa Ryan, wearing down Joyful Dream in the last 75 yards to win by three quarters of a length.
In the 5f finale Brighton’s leading trainer and jockey this year, Tony Carroll and Tom Marquand, combined to win with Toni’s A Star (5/1), who was second in this race in 2018. She made all the running and was in no mood to let anyone else past, coming in a length and a quarter ahead of Haveoneyerself. Toni is a star, as this was her eleventh win from 59 starts.