The third day of the Brighton Festival remained warm and sunny, contradicting the pessimistic weather forecast, though the wind blew with increasing strength against the runners in the home straight. The going was still good to firm.
After four winners in two days, the Tony Carroll bandwagon was expected to start rolling in the opener, a 6f handicap, with his odds-on shot Urban Highway. However, he never really looked like rewarding his backers. Zaula went for home with more than a quarter of a mile to go, only for June’s course and distance winner Nervous Nerys (5/2) to wear her down with half a furlong left. The favourite followed her in, finishing a head away. Alex Hales trained the winner and Hollie Doyle rode her.
Richard Hannon senior and junior have farmed the two-year-old races here for decades and today it was their Malvern (4/7 fav) who made all the running to land a 6f contest. The winner of his single previous start, he galloped on resolutely to hold off his only serious rival on form, Cotai Again, by a length. Rossa Ryan did the steering.
Next came a 1m4f handicap, and another odds-on Tony Carroll runner, a filly called Cape Sydney (10/11 fav). This race went according to plan. Sydney’s big white face disputed the lead on the outside coming out of the dip, and she drew away from a furlong and a half out despite running with her head to one side. It was easy enough in the end, when she had two and a half lengths to spare over New Expo. Brett Doyle was riding his first winner at Brighton since 2004.
Only three went to post for the 1m2f handicap, but they all had plenty of good form this year. The John Gallagher-trained Junoesque (well supported into 11/8 fav) set a moderate gallop before Hector Crouch asked her to kick on two out. Amor Fati, raised 11 pounds for his last win, tried his best to go with her and got to within a neck, but couldn’t bridge the gap. There was three quarters of a length between them at the line. It was Junoesque’s fourth victory here.
The Brighton Bullet was a wide open contest over six furlongs. Everything was in with a chance at the two pole, when the red jacket of Eve Johnson Houghton’s Tin Hat (12/1) showed in front. Urged on by Georgia Dobie, he kept a narrow lead from there to the line, where Red Alert was gaining hand over fist, but too late. The winning distance was a neck.
Another 6f handicap produced a clear winner in the shape of Cent Flying (7/4 fav), who won on this card last year and had had a breathing operation since his latest outing. Martin Dwyer drove him past the pacesetting Tawaafoq a furlong and a half out and he was soon in command. He won, eased down, by seven lengths. William Muir was the successful trainer.
The Festival ended with a 5f sprint that went to an 11-race maiden who was greatly improved by the application of first-time cheekpieces. Devil Or Angel (12/1), given every encouragement by her jockey Thore Hammer Hansen, made up ground on the outside to hit the front a furlong out. She then streaked away to score by two and a half lengths for veteran trainer Bill Turner, with Monarch Maid leading the rest home.