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Race Meeting Report - Monday 17th April

Tue, Apr 18, 2017

Easter Monday’s family-oriented meeting drew a large crowd, which had a feast of entertainment laid on for them behind the stands in addition to the racing action in front of them. It was bright for the first half of the afternoon and the rain stayed away until near the end. The going was good, and of the eight races, five were won by favourites.

We began with a 2m4f maiden hurdle for mares in which Philip Hobbs’ Copper Kay (1/4 fav) had outstanding form credentials. She travelled well, took the lead two out and quickly went clear to put the result beyond doubt. Richard Johnson only had to shake her up a little to maintain a gap of four and a half lengths from the improving Swatow. Copper Kay is owned by Alan Peterson who arranged a large fund raising event for NSPCC Cymru at this race day.

When hat-trick chasing Rocknrollrambo (7/4 fav) drew alongside the long-time leader Charlie Mon at the third last fence of the 3m novices chase, going well under Robert Dunne, it looked like he’d go on for a decisive victory. Instead his opponent pestered him the rest of the way, until fading in the last few strides to allow Phangio to grab second place. The two and a quarter length winner continued trainer Ian Williams’ fine season, his best for many years.

A 1/14 favourite is a rare sight but there was one in the 2m novices hurdle. The form of Dolos, trained by Paul Nicholls, was far superior to that of his three rivals. Sam Twiston-Davies kept it simple, leading throughout and needing only to shake the reins a few times on the run-in for an easy two and a quarter length success. A chasing career beckons after this horse’s summer holiday. Cup Of Ambition showed distinct promise in second place.

The feature event, a £25,000 2m chase, produced a good finish as Ink Master (9/4) and Red Spinner duelled over the last four fences. The former, who took an unplanned detour through a car park before going out onto the course, asserted his superiority after the last and finished three lengths up. It completed a double for Philip Hobbs, this time with James Best doing the steering.

Fergal O’Brien’s best season got even better when his Diamond Fort (7/1) took the 2m4f handicap hurdle, a race in which many still had chances four out. At the next the winner’s white face showed in front and Paddy Brennan drove him into a clear advantage approaching the last. From there he was in no danger and despite a swish of the tail he had five lengths to spare over Ozzy Thomas at the line.

A horse with “Minella” in its name usually signifies plenty of stamina and this proved to be the case in the 3m handicap chase. Minellacelebration (5/1) was headed by Pawn Star three out but rallied gamely to regain the lead with 50 yards to go. Ben Poste rode the half-length winner for Hay-on-Wye trainer Katy Price, for whom this was a first Chepstow victory.

Two mares’ bumpers ended the programme. In the first, Emma Lavelle’s Majestic Moll came in for heavy late support to go off at 10/11 favourite. She made all the running and Daryl Jacob, exuding confidence, didn’t have to get too serious with her in order to score comfortably by six lengths. Oscar Star plugged on for second place.

In the last, Highclere’s If You Say Run (6/4 fav) was another to make all. Shaken up two out, and then asked for more, she pulled 13 lengths clear of Rouergate and further success next season looks assured. Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies were completing doubles.

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Phil Bell