This was the first cool, cloudy, truly autumnal day of the 2019 season. The going was good to firm.
The opener was a 6f fillies handicap. Raised in class, Knockabout Queen was unable to follow up on her success in last week’s Ian Carnaby seller. She ran on into second place without ever troubling Stuart Williams’s Lethal Angel (3/1), ridden by Pat Cosgrave. She tracked the leader until taking it up a furlong and a half out, and then stayed on strongly to score by a length and a half.
Mark Johnston’s horses usually know their job and although his Dontaskmeagain (evens fav) was making his debut in the 7f race for two-year-olds, Franny Norton wasn’t afraid to make the running on him. He maintained a narrow advantage until a furlong and a half from home, when he began to pull away from his rivals. He was well on top at the post, four and a half lengths ahead of Awesome Gary.
Joyful Dream (11/2), who failed to win any of her first 42 races, has since won two of her next three, which were all at Brighton. Her latest came in today’s 7f handicap, bounding into the lead approaching the furlong pole and quickly putting the race to bed. Darragh Keenan rode the mare for John Butler. Miss Icon came in two lengths behind. Silverturnstogold finished fast in third, suggesting a return to a mile would be in order.
The odds on favourite in the 1m4f handicap ran poorly, allowing something of a turn-up. Marcus Tregoning’s three-year-old filly Atalanta Breeze was running over a trip her pedigree indicated would suit, though after ten months off the track confidence was muted and she was sent off at 12/1. Kieran Shoemark was at work on her some way out, but she ran straight up the centre of the course to take the lead half a furlong out. In beating Royal Dancer half a length, she gave the distinct impression there is more improvement in her.
Tregoning and Shoemark couldn’t quite double up with Freckles in the next, a 1m2f handicap. Their filly ran on well, but Hollie Doyle had got first run on Escape The City (backed from 7/1 to 4/1), who battled her way into the lead with 150 yards to go, gaining a long-overdue second career victory for Hughie Morrison. There was three quarters of a length between them at the finish. Back in third the favourite, Long Call, started slowly and lost as much ground as he was eventually beaten by.
An open one mile handicap produced the finish of the day, with heads separating the first three. Rosamour, who hadn’t got away from the stalls very well, took a narrow lead two out. However, others were snapping at her heels all the way up the hill, and in the last few strides Kennocha (12/1) worried her out of it. She was given a fine ride by the young Tom Marquand, by far the leading rider at the track this season. Amy Murphy trained the winner.
The seventh race was also over a mile, confined to apprentices. It was a first career success for both Barrsbrook (20/1) and his jockey Louis Garoghan. It was his tenth ride, whereas it was the 18th start for the horse. He was awkward leaving the stalls, but that didn’t matter in the long run. He made great progress coming up the hill under a hands and heels ride to hit the front half a furlong out. The Gary Moore-trained maiden went on to win by two lengths from Duke Of North and a host of other course regulars.