An exciting finish to the opening race on MBNA Family Funday, the Caldwell Construction/EBF Novice Stakes was subject to a lengthy stewards’ enquiry, however the result remained unchanged and first past the post Zoffalee was awarded the race.
Successful trainer Tom Dascombe said: “Our owners want to run here, it’s a great day out. We are top heavy with two year olds in the yard so we have several runners today. This is a nice horse, he’s quite hot. He’s French bred so we might go to Deauville with him, but he’s a three year old in the making, so there is no rush.” Jockey Richard Kingscote brought Zoffalee to challenge and Porth Swtran closed to a head on the line.
Franny Norton added to his winning tally for the season at Chester with a short head success aboard Prestbury Park, sent off at 10/1, in the Horseradish Hospitality At Southport Flower Show/EBF Stallions Conditions Stakes. Norton set the pace, riding the inside rail to good effect and held the favourite, Regulator, in abeyance. “He was already a winner, having put the race at Haydock to bed. I needed a line today – and I got it!” said Norton.
Jamie Gormley, having his first ride at Chester Racecourse, made all the running aboard 6/1 chance Tor win the MBNA Festival of Football Handicap in fine style by three and three quarter lengths from Here And Now. “We found the key to riding him, from the front. He loves it out in front, he had a low weight and a nice tight track like Chester suited him. Everything was in his favour today,” explained Gormley, who regularly rides the horse out at home.
“It was ideal; the horses in front set the race up for me. She enjoys a proper run race, which they usually are at Chester. She picked up well,” said David Allen after riding Breakable to victory in the Flip Out Mile Handicap. Gabrial The Tiger was the pace setter but was relegated to second place by three-quarters of a length in the final strides. The winner was sent off at 4/1.
Five horses contested the Total Fitness Queensferry Stakes (Listed Race). On settling down Kimberella went on the dictate the gallop. Entering the straight Judicial came wide but was unable to close on the leader who retained a margin of one and three quarter lengths passing the post. “I love that horse, he’s very straightforward. I was able to get a breather into him and then kicked off again. I was pretty confident, he’s got such a wonderful temperament and takes his racing well,” commented successful jockey, Paul Hanagan.
“He’s a very genuine horse, all he wants to do is run, that’s all you want, ability helps too!” was how trainer Tom Dascombe, who was recording a double, described Demons Rock, the two and a quarter length winner of the Britvic Nursery Handicap. Richard Kingscote had his mount smartly away and the 15/8 favourite was pulling clear of the field inside the final furlong.
The final race of the afternoon, the Merseyrail Handicap provided trainer Mark Johnston with a double. Jockey Joe Fanning headed the field throughout and scored readily by two and a quarter lengths from Golden Wolf. Deidre Johnston said: “Joe steadied him up and then kicked again, it was a good ride. This horse is home-bred by the owners; he didn’t run a bad race last time out and has handled the slightly gluey ground well today.”
Sunday meetings at Chester Racecourse have always attracted high levels of attendance; this year was no exception with 29,360 people enjoying the attractions of the afternoon.
Racing returns to Chester Racecourse for Ladies Day on Saturday, 26 August 2017. The 2018 fixture list for Chester Racecourse is now available to view on http://www.chester-races.co.uk/coming-soon