Wide awake Not So Sleepy, ridden by Jim Crowley, completed a successful front-running performance to land the £75,000 Betfair Dee Stakes at Chester Racecourse today and provided an extra birthday present for the breeder Lord Blyth. In front of packed stands Disegno attempted to close on the leader, the outsider at 11/1, but was still a short head away as the winner crossed the line.
“He has been a bit keen but he loves it out there in front and he stayed every yard today. He’s always shown ability and runs on his nerves. It is critical for the industry to have owner breeders like Lord and Lady Blyth.
“We have no grand plan but he wants soft ground and we may go to France with him. The staff are good riders and they have helped to train the horse. Today may have made him grow up,” explained winning trainer Hughie Morrison.
Clever Cookie took the biscuit when winning the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes for connections, all with national hunt experience in their pedigree. Delighted trainer Peter Niven said: “”He’s a racehorse, I’ll tell you. We’ve only seen the half of him. It hasn’t all been straightforward and he wasn’t working well at home.
Big Orange had dictated the pace ahead of a closely bunched field but the shape of the race changed rapidly entering the final straight when Tac De Boistron emerged the leader. Graham Lee had taken a shorter route and this provided him with sufficient advantage to score by one and a quarter lengths.
Niven added: “I took him to Ripon but didn’t run him and then he brightened up. I rode home myself on Tuesday and I thought this race might come a week too early. He’s in at York ahd we might still run him there. The ground worked in his favour today and we still don’t know how good he is.
“The ground is key to him, his mother stayed three and a half miles and he should have won the Doncaster Cup, we tracked the wrong horse that day.
“Graham (Lee) gave him a peach of a ride and he’s hard to get these days, he rode his last jumps winner for me at Catterick. That was grand.”
Leading bookmakers shortened Clever Cookie to 16/1 for the Ascot Gold next month.
A somewhat depleted field raced for the Betfair Earl Grosvenor Handicap Stakes to open the card on City Day at Chester Racecourse. Pace-setter Rene Methis maintained his place at the head of the field before his advantage was steadily eroded by a winning run from Newstead Abbey, sent off at 11/2. The five year old pulled clear to score by one and a quarter lengths.
Winning jockey Graham Gibbons summarised the performance, saying: “He broke nicely and travelled well but it’s hard enough work out there.” Connections had thought he was a fast ground horse but the softer ground was not an inconvenience.