Tuesday’s meeting was given extra allure by the presence of two course specialists, Pour La Victoire and Roy Rocket, both of whom were striving to break the record they share with another horse of nine wins at Brighton.
It was a typically bright’n’breezy day. The going was good, good to firm in places.
Big Time Maybe (13/8 fav) was a popular choice for the opener, a five-runner 5f sprint, probably because his Epsom trainer Michael Attwater had booked leading apprentice Cieren Fallon. He didn’t let his backers down. Glamorous Rocket set off at a brisk pace and kept on well up the hill, but her exertions eventually told and the favourite wore her down in the final 75 yards to win by a neck.
Next came a 6f race for two-year-olds. Second in both his outings, odds-on Laikaparty set out to make all the running but inside the final quarter mile she was in danger of being swamped. The outsider Gleeds Girl was the main challenger, until Punchbowl Flyer (4/1) finished fastest of all to take the lead in the last 50 yards. Charles Bishop rode the half length winner for Eve Johnson Houghton, condemning Laikaparty to add another second place to his record.
Alicia Darcy (11/2) has been busy and profitable since she joined Archie Watson in mid-June. Her record in that period is 521117321 after winning today’s competitive 6f handicap. Tin Hat, previously unbeaten here, made most of the running and had just about regained the lead from Pink Flamingo in the closing stages. Suddenly apprentice Kate Leahy poked Alicia Darcy between them, hitting the front in the last couple of strides to win by a neck and a short head.
Some very modest performers lined up for the 7f maiden. The one with fractionally the best form, So Macho (8/11 fav), made the 303 mile journey from Grant Tuer’s North Yorkshire yard worthwhile. Jack Mitchell made all the running on him, and despite idling in the final furlong he kept going well enough to have a length and a half to spare over Ecstasea at the line.
The 1m4f handicap was a decent contest for a Class 6. Esspeegee (9/2) had run 32 times, of which three were at Brighton, and he’d won all three. He was back today for the first time this year, and assisted by a first-time visor. He was on the outside disputing the lead at the cutaway two and a half furlongs from home, only for those on the inside to move ahead. However, in the final furlong he ran on strongly for Darragh Keenan – so much so that he won by almost four lengths, with Star Of Athena putting in an improved effort to take a clear second place.
The 1m2f maiden handicap turned out to be a straightforward task for James Fanshawe’s Lady Mascara (2/1 fav), running in the colours of the Oaks winner Anapurna. Tom Marquand held her up, keeping to the inside, and waited till the cutaway before making his run and forging ahead a furlong and a half out. She stayed on well to win by a length and three quarters from Circle Of Stars, who ran much his best race to date.
The best finish of the day came in the finale, a one mile race for apprentices. They were closely grouped all the way. Maldonado (7/2 jt fav) gained a fractional advantage approaching the half furlong pole and held on by a short head, a head and a neck from a trio of challengers led by Silverturnstogold. Scott McCullagh rode the winner. Mick Easterby, who is well into his eighties, supplied the second North Yorkshire-trained victory of the afternoon.
Sadly, neither Pour La Victoire nor Roy Rocket cut much ice today, but they may be back for the two-day meeting at the beginning of September.