Viscount is Victorious in Sportingbet City Plate at Chester
“He’s a horse on an upward curve” said Rob Hornby after landing the feature race of the day, the Sportingbet City Plate Stakes aboard 20/1 outsider Viscount Barfield by a head from Jungle Cat.
“It’s fantastic to get back on him; we’ve had a good partnership. He started to improve over the winter and he won at York. He really enjoys this track; you can spin him round the bends. He does nothing early on and then latched on. When the gaps come he goes through, he’s so tough,” added Hornby.
The early leader was Salateen who raced with pricked ears and Jungle Cat was always prominent along-sides. The winner threaded through the field and had a clear run entering the straight.
Ginbar looked to have success in his sights in the Stella Artois/EBF Stallions Novice Stakes run over the minimum trip of five furlongs. In front of the packed stands Gift In Time lived up to his name when a late challenge enabled him to pass the two leaders and win by a neck. Jockey Adam Beschizza said: “The form is working out and he’s fairly useful and will probably improve again for a step up in trip to six furlongs.”
Defying a wide draw of stall nine, 10/1 chance The Wagon Wheel kept rolling and came wide entering the straight before veering across to the outside rail to storm clear by three lengths in the MBNA Make Good Stuff Happen Fillies’ Handicap Stakes. Connor Murtagh, the jockey, explained: “She went a lot wider than I wanted to but she needed the rail to keep straight. She ran a cracking race at York and the blinkers are working.”
Murtagh recorded a double when landing the West Way Nissan Handicap with Boundsy, sent off at 5/1. Four horses were across the track in the final stages, with the winner edging ahead a neck in front of Love Oasis who in turn was a head in front of The Amber. Murtagh said: “The gaps opened up for him, I had taken my time with him and he picked up well.”
It wouldn’t be Chester Races without a Franny Norton success, which came aboard the 13/8 favourite Hochfeld in the Manor Car Hire Handicap Stakes. A trademark front running performance, despite going wide entering the second circuit, unfolded and Norton kicked clear in front of the stands resulting in an impressive eight-length win from Look My Way. Representing winning connections, Deidre Johnston said: “Everything went wrong for him with a hind leg injury and this is a tricky track. The pace was just what he wanted and he stayed well. It was a nice performance and Franny gave him a great ride. We find out about our horses on the racecourse and we’ll go back and have a wee chat about where to go next.”
“He’s game and they were going a good clip, I was surprised how much he found when they came to him. He gave me a sense that he would go again if anything challenged, he’s a lovely horse,” was the summary provided by winning jockey Steve Drowne after victory aboard 12/1 chance Storm King who carried top weight in the CSP Audio Visual Handicap Stakes. Storm King and Theos Lolly were prominent after the early leader Amy Blair faded and three-quarters of a length separated the two horses as they flashed across the line.
The Forward Builders’ Supplies Celebrating 30 Years Apprentice Handicap Stakes concluded the proceedings which were enjoyed by a crowd of 25,654, a 2% increase on the same meeting in 2016. Nicola Currie recorded her first Chester Racecourse success aboard Kryptos who accelerated in the final strides to pass Plant Pot Power and was returned at 11/1.
Racing returns to Chester Racecourse on Saturday, 29 July 2017 for the Stella Artois Midsummer Meeting, to purhcase tickets and badges for this fixture, click here.