The final meeting of the 2019 season at Brighton was memorable in an unexpected way. It was windy, with bright spells, and the going was soft, heavy in places.
The first two races were over six furlongs. Wild Flower (14/1) was prominent throughout the opener and surged into a clear lead two out. She was tying up as the post neared, with Mister Freeze catching her hand over fist, but Kieran O’Neill kept her going and she held on by a head. This was the first winner at Brighton for Newmarket trainer Luke McJannet.
The next race was for two-year-olds and Silver Samurai (evens fav) was an easy winner for Marco Botti and Daniel Muscutt. The grey was never out of his comfort zone, taking the lead a furlong and a half out and quickly going four and a half lengths up. Sunset Breeze kept on to finish second.
By now the ground behind the six furlong start, which was deemed satisfactory this morning, had become false. This was due to some further rain and being cut up by runners circling round it before the first two races. Jockeys raised concerns about that patch, and following an inspection by stewards and other officials it was decided that it was unsafe, and no races exceeding six furlongs could safely take place. Races 3-6 had to be abandoned, but the seventh could go ahead because it was over five furlongs. However, it could not be run before the planned start time of 4.40.
Eventually the clock ticked round to the appointed time and the finale was run in front of an understandably small crowd. The Lamplighter dashed into a clear lead with a furlong and a half to go, and appeared to have the race sewn up. However, he faded in the closing stages, allowing Michael’s Choice (10/1) to catch him near the post. His owners were pleasantly surprised, as they had no idea whether he would go on this taxing ground. William Jarvis trained the half-length winner, which was David Probert’s 100th of the season.