What's happening at Chepstow

Race Meeting Report - Sunday 8 January 2017

Sun, Jan 8, 2017

The weather gods didn’t smile on Chepstow today, for fog lingered over the course most of the afternoon. Thanks to the powerful TV cameras most of the action in the first race could be followed, but the gloom intensified and little could be seen by the time of the fourth race. Though things improved a little towards the end of the afternoon, it was a day when nobody would have wanted to change places with the commentator. The going was heavy, soft in places.

Russian Service was always up with the leaders in the 2m maiden hurdle and was in front from about halfway. Belying his odds of 25/1, nothing else put him under serious pressure and his amateur rider Tommie O’Brien was able to enjoy his first success at Chepstow by a comfortable five lengths from the favourite Bardd. Tom Lacey trains the winner at Ledbury in Herefordshire.

Nicky Henderson, responsible for the favourite in the first race, had another in the next, a 2m4f novices hurdle, and this one went one better by coasting to a six length triumph. The even-money Constantine Bay travelled strongly before being eased into the lead by Daryl Jacob on the long run to the last flight. He now faces a step up in grade. Evan Williams’s Prime Venture, who like the favourite was penalised for a previous win, ran well to finish second.

In the second division of the 2m4f novices hurdle the three market principals finished 1-2-3, but not in the order the betting implied. Mr McGo (4/1), trained by Donald McCain and ridden by Will Kennedy, led throughout the last circuit. The favourite Lovenormoney was disappointing and coming up the straight only Fly Camp was able to stay anywhere near the leader. His challenge petered out well before the last and the margin of victory was 10 lengths.

The fog was worse than ever by the time of the fourth race, a 3m novices chase. Colin Tizzard has scooped several big prizes in the last few months but his lesser lights have also done well and Allchilledout (8/1) took this in the hands of Aidan Coleman. He was another who led or disputed the running for most of the race. Jumping well, he had acquired a three length advantage by the third last fence and ran on well to repel the persistent Krackatoa King on the run-in by a length and a quarter. A combination of first time blinkers and a longer trip did the trick.

A 2m hurdle for mares went to Bobble Boru (8/1). She led for the first half of the race but dropped back to third entering the home straight. Soon after that Shaama Grise hit the front, until a renewed effort by Bobble Boru took her into the lead inside the last hundred yards to win by a length. Stan Sheppard rode her for his father Matt. This was her second course and distance success since moving to their Herefordshire yard in September.

The McCain stable was denied a double when Pembrokeshire’s David Rees trained the winner of the 2m chase. He had secured the valuable services of Sean Bowen for Dream Bolt (16/1), who was having his first race in 16 months. The fog had lifted a little and the horse could be seen taking the lead at the last and running on gamely to hold off Ubaltique and Allow Dallow by one length and two and a half.

Congratulations to those who selected the correct 1-2 in the finale, which paid 348/1 on the Tote. This was a 16-runner 2m4f hurdle with a fairly short-priced favourite, Greyed A, who could only manage third behind Jonjo O’Neill’s handicap debutant Cobolobo (16/1). He led at the last and stayed on well to come home two lengths ahead of another outsider, Mountain Of Mourne, and complete a double for Aidan Coleman.

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Jim Beavis