The second meeting of the new season was a sunny afternoon with a slight, yet chilly, breeze. The track looked in fine shape, and the going was good to firm.
The first on the card, over 5f, was a very open affair according to the betting and it resulted in a close finish. Shamshon (4/1) came wide and late to give last year’s leading jockey at the course, Jason Watson, his first victory here in 2019. It was the horse’s sixth success for Stuart Williams in just over two years. Harry Hurricane, whose record before today included four wins and nine second places, went down by a neck.
Michael Bell and Hayley Turner combined to win the race for two-year-olds for the second year in a row. Brazen Safa (9/4) capitalised on the two leaders going off at a great pace and ran on well to grab the lead close home. She should get six furlongs. The market disregarded the chances of debutante Rose Of Kildare, but she came from last to second, failing to get up by only a neck. Drifting from the middle of the course towards the far rail may have made the difference between winning and losing.
The 1m4f handicap became a procession. David Probert set a decent pace on the Andrew Balding-trained Agent Basterfield (6/5 fav) and bowled along three lengths ahead of their three rivals. He hadn’t run over this distance before, but by the two furlong pole he had the race won and breezed home 13 lengths in front of Nabbeyl. He will definitely win again.
A 1m2f fillies’ handicap came next. Double Reflection and Sweet Charity were first and second for 90% of the race, but they gave way in the last 50 yards to Jonathan Portman’s Ashazuri (13/2). The handicapper had given the five-year-old mare a chance after some below-par efforts in the second half of 2018. Nicola Currie was the successful jockey.
The combination of Alexandra Dunn and Rossa Ryan won a race at the last meeting here, and they were back in the limelight with Waqt (8/1), who took the 1m handicap. He gained a narrow advantage two out and repelled his opponents gamely, going on to score by a length and a quarter. The favourite False Id lost a lot of ground at the start and could never land a blow.
The 7f of the next race may have been a little on the short side for He’s Our Star (a well supported 11/8 fav), but Tom Marquand overcame that by making all the running on Ali Stronge’s gelding. Flanked by challengers, he showed a good attitude to hold them off and secure a one length victory over Bbob Alula.
We concluded with a 1m2f apprentices’ handicap. Seaborn (9/1) hadn’t run for over 500 days, but with the help of a wind op, his new trainer Patrick Chamings was able to produce him fit and well. He and Knight Of Air pulled clear of the rest of the field in the final furlong, and in the last 75 yards Seaborn proved the stronger. He was a length and a quarter ahead passing the post. Seven pound claimer William Carver was riding his 11th winner, his first at Brighton. Roy Rocket ran into a never-nearer fourth place.