On a gloriously sunny evening the going was good to firm, firm in places.
The first event on the card was a seller over six furlongs. Knockout Blow (7/1) was soon in front, and increased his advantage in the final furlong to gain what was ultimately a fairly easy win. He’d shown a bit of form here last week. He was having his second outing for John Long, who trains a stone’s throw from the course at Bear Road. Hector Crouch did the steering. There was no bid for him at the auction. Red Snapper was second, two lengths in arrears.
There was a great finish to the 7f race for two-year-olds. Governor Of Punjab (11/4 fav) made all the running and, typical of Mark Johnston horses, found more when pressed in the closing stages. With Franny Norton driving him for all he was worth, he held on gamely by a nose from Mensen Ernst, whose late switch to the far rail nearly paid off. The runner-up’s slow start surely cost him the race.
Rae Guest’s Kachumba made it four wins from eight runs at Brighton in the 7f fillies handicap, a race she’d won last year. Adam Kirby waited until the dip before asking her for her effort, and she took the lead on the outside with a furlong and a half to go. Global Rose mustered a brief challenge, but Kachumba shot away again to win by over three lengths, with the rest trailing in at long intervals.
Four ran in the 1m4f handicap, which resulted in another wide-margin victory. You’re Hired set the pace but had to give way to the Andrew Balding-trained Perfect Illusion (2/1) a furlong out. His greater stamina carried apprentice William Carver to a three and a half length win.
Carver was back in the winners enclosure after the one mile race half an hour later, thanks to Harlequin Rose (15/2). Having her 14th start at Brighton, Patrick Chamings’ mare obtained her second ever win by taking up the running on the outside with a quarter of a mile to go. Another course regular, Sharp Operator, came out of the pack to challenge but never looked like getting there in time, and Rose finished a neck to the good.
The progressive River Dawn (15/8 fav) led throughout the 7f handicap for three-year-olds to gain his first career win in good style. He ran on strongly in the penultimate furlong and put the race to bed then, and was value for much more than the official verdict of two and a half lengths. He can go in again before long. Kieran Shoemark rode him for Paul Cole. Tarrzan made late progress from the rear to finish second, the third time he has filled that berth here in 2019. The favourite, Forty Four Sunsets, finished last after being hampered twice, very badly the second time, and is worth another chance.
The finale, a 6f contest for three-year-olds, was anybody’s race a furlong out with all six runners in with a chance. It was Archie Watson’s filly Alicia Darby (4/1), reacting favourably to first-time blinkers, who ran on the best from that point. She powered up the hill to win by two lengths, giving jockey Adam McNamara a welcome boost. He rode 53 winners in 2016, yet he has had only 54 rides this year. Miss Liberty Belle came from last to take a clear second place.