The three-day Brighton Festival began in bright, breezy conditions. Its centrepiece was the Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy, the most valuable race of the Festival
Richard Hannon’s stable had five winners at Newbury yesterday, and his filly Airbrush was made favourite for the 5f nursery. She set out to make all the running, and looked like succeeding until the half furlong pole. Scott McCullagh conjured up a great run from Mick Channon’s Bartat (100/30) and she scooted past in the final 50 yards to win by half a length.
The Hannons were even more confidently expected to take Brighton’s 7f race for two-year-olds with Sky Vega. However, he hit a flat spot in the penultimate furlong while Hariboux (7/2), who had travelled strongly through the race, ran on well against the rail. He took a race-winning lead under Jack Mitchell, and although Frost At Midnight and the favourite ran on late they could only reduce the gap to one length. Hugo Palmer trained the winner.
The 1m4f seller went to Born To Reason (11/4 fav). It was his first run for Alexandra Dunn, whose stable continued to do so well, especially when employing Cieren Fallon in the saddle. He surged into a two or three length lead coming out of the dip, and although that advantage diminished in the final furlong, the favourite was always in command. He finished half a length ahead of Butterfield. There was no bid for him after the race.
Tony Carroll always targets Brighton meetings and his first success at this year’s Festival came in the 1m2f handicap with Creative Talent (12/1). Coming off a strong pace, George Downing drove him into the lead a furlong and a half out, and quickly went clear, putting the race to bed. The horse idled in the closing stages, allowing the fast-finishing Sandy Steve to get to within three quarters of a length.
Carroll had four runners in the Brighton Mile and achieved a 1-3-4. His Baltic Prince set a searching gallop and kept going gamely when joined by Medieval in the dip. They were fighting out the finish until Carroll’s De Vegas Kid (9/1) dashed past at the half furlong marker. Darragh Keenan steered him to a two length victory. Medieval and Baltic Prince plugged on to take second and fourth, with Carroll’s Poetic Force splitting them in third. It was De Vegas Kid’s fourth course win. He returns here tomorrow. Stablemate Pour La Victoire, going for a record-breaking tenth course win, didn’t get much of a run. He may try again here on Friday.
Only three ran for the 7f fillies handicap, and Warning Fire, twice placed at Glorious Goodwood last week, was all the rage at 2/7. She led for most of the way but the five-time course and distance winner Kachumba (11/2) was going well, and took the lead approaching the final furlong. Rae Guest trained the winner, which was the fifth of jockey Stefano Cherchi’s career, on his first ride at Brighton.
The 7f finale had 15 runners, the biggest field of the day. Joyful Dream was still a maiden after 42 races, but had twice been a close second at Brighton in June and at 5/1 was fancied to do better today for the John Butler yard. Partnered by Josh Bryan, she emerged from the pack a furlong and a half out and dashed clear after squeezing up one of her rivals on the rail.
The favourite, Lady Morpheus, was last out of the stalls and did well to finish second, three and a quarter lengths away.