Brighton’s first June meeting was sunny and blustery. Watering had left the going good to firm.
Tony Carroll’s dual course winner Essaka (7/2) ran away with the opener, a 5f handicap.
There were four in line a quarter of a mile out, but they had no answer to the winner’s surge through a gap one off the rail. He led a furlong out and quickly went four lengths up for Sophie Ralston. He could run again at Bath on Friday. Ghepardo kept on for second, and the outsider Tina Teaspoon ran her best race to date in third.
Faldetta (9/4) made all the running in the 6f maiden for two-year-olds. Charles Bishop extended her lead with a furlong and a half to go and that gave her an unassailable advantage. The favourite, My Motivate Girl, plugged on in second without looking likely to get to the winner, who was trained by Eve Johnson Houghton.
In the four-runner 6f handicap Cracking Speed (4/1) tracked the pacemaker until challenging two out. Passing him at the furlong pole, he then ran out a convincing winner by just over two lengths. Sean Levey rode him for Richard Hannon. Soaring Spirits, who’s better over further, ran on nicely to take second.
Tartlette seemed to have the 1m2f race in the bag once she forged ahead on the far side two out. However, in the final half furlong Oliver Hardy (7/1) ate up the ground to lead close home and take the laurels by a neck. He benefited from a never-say-die ride from Rossa Ryan. Paul Cole was the successful trainer.
There was a straightforward victory for Charles Kingsley (8/13 fav) in the feature 1m4f handicap. Mark Johnston’s four-year-old won at Hamilton five days previously and was neve out of his comfort zone to follow up. Driven into the lead by Franny Norton approaching the final furlong, he soon had the race wrapped up, and was value for more than his comfortable length and a half triumph over Perfect Illusion.
Richard Hannon and Rossa Ryan completed doubles thanks to the game front-running effort of Orliko (3/1) in the mile handicap. He led or disputed the lead from the start, and held on grimly from Princess Florence in the closing stages. Being gelded, and fitted with blinkers for the first time, probably contributed to his victory by a neck.
The form horse in the getting-out stakes was last week’s course winner Confrerie (6/5 fav). He coped perfectly well with the extra distance of today’s race, which was over 7f. Trainer George Baker had booked Cieren Fallon, who showed he has inherited his father’s coolness by bringing his mount from last place to lead on the far rail a furlong and a half out. Joyful Dream briefly took over in front, only for Confrerie to worry her out of it and prevail by half a length.