What's happening at Chepstow

Race Meeting Report - Thursday 23rd March

Fri, Mar 24, 2017

Local residents with a NP postcode who booked in advance enjoyed half price entry to this meeting. It was a bright day, especially for smaller trainers who again picked up most of the prizes. The going was soft, heavy in places.

Three stood out in the opening 2m novice hurdle for mares, and they filled the first three places. The 3/1 shot Smaoineamh Alainn disputed the lead with Cascaye until jumping to the front four out. Her jockey James Best was virtually motionless as she coasted to an eight length success over Multigifted on her first start for Robert Walford. The winner’s name, which means “beautiful thought”, must have been mispronounced in dozens of different ways. The commentator settled for “smeenahb all in”.

Five went to post for the 2m4f novice handicap hurdle. Billy Hicks (9/4) took up the running three out but couldn’t get away from his rivals and if the strong finisher Braw Angus hadn’t made a mistake at the last the result might have been different. David England rode the three quarter length winner for Samuel Drinkwater.

The next was another novice handicap, this time over three miles. The Tom Symonds-trained Falcons Fall (9/1) needed every yard of it, as he was hard ridden in last turning into the straight. Ben Poste didn’t give up on him and took the lead approaching the last, galloping on strongly for a three and a half length victory over Ambion Lane. Big Meadow had been well clear half way up the straight, only to weaken dramatically between the last two flights.

Before the 3m chase Richard Johnson was a late jockey change on John Flint’s Lac Sacre (7/2), who in the last three years has rarely finished unplaced but hadn’t visited the winner’s enclosure. Today everything fell into place. The champion jockey exuded confidence some way from home and waited till the run to the last before going into the lead. His horse ran on in good style to beat Jack In A Box by eight lengths.

The 2m handicap hurdle went to Karl Marx (7/1), who was being shovelled along by David Crosse descending the hill on the far side of the course, and turning into the straight. Driven into the lead three out, he continued to need vigorous riding but he proved too strong for his opponents. It was a capital effort from his jockey. The winner is trained in Dorset by Mark Gillard. Whipcrackaway finished second, beaten almost three lengths.

Chepstow’s first hunter chase of the year was won by Vasco Du Mee (5/1), trained in Worcestershire by Martin Weston. His owner-rider Josephine Banks allowed him to coast into the lead halfway through the three mile contest and he increased his lead coming up the straight with some good jumps. Passing the post he was 14 lengths clear of Dineur and the rest.

Bigger stables were represented in the five-runner bumper. It was won by the only four-year-old in the field, Dessinateur (8/1), trained by Venetia Williams and ridden by Liam Treadwell. Split by the width of the course, he had a good battle in the last quarter of a mile with the grey Warthog prior to winning by a length and a quarter.

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Jim Beavis