Front runners and hold-up horses reap rewards at Corbettsports Chester Stakes Day
Favourite backers had a successful start to the meeting when Mutakatif, returned at 13/8, landed the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes by a neck from Spud. The winner had the advantage of being drawn in stall one and raced on the inside of the track before accelerating clear as the field entered the straight. Spud was denied a clear run and jockey Richard Kingscote had to manoeuvre through the field before the horse was able to make up ground on the leader; however the winning post came a few strides too early. “He’s a nice horse and he’ll be better next year. It’s good that he’s lost his maiden tag and he’s strengthening up,” said winning jockey Dane O’Neill.
Corbettsports.com Chester Stakes is classified as a listed race and was won from a front running position occupied by the aptly named My Reward. Jockey David Allen went the shortest way round the Roodee and the closest challenger, Cape Coast, was three quarters of a length adrift as the winner crossed the line.
The theme of a late challenge proving to be successful continued in the Raymond & Kathleen Corbett Memorial Handicap when the early pace had been set by the 2016 winner of the race, Breakable, before Love Dreams went on. The field fanned out across the track entering the straight and 8/1 chance Penwortham galloped on to score by half a length from the War Glory. “I dropped him out because he can be keen but turning in he was pulling a double handful and it was only a matter of time before he got there. It was very impressive, but he had no weight on his back; it does help!” explained winning jockey Patrick Mathers.
Owner Marwan Koukash has enjoyed considerable success with his horses at Chester Racecourse in recent seasons, however he said, after landing the #thembnateam Handicap with Powerallied: “It’s been ages since I’ve had a winner at Chester. He was unlucky and got boxed in last time here but he’s a decent horse. We’ll see what there is for him here for his next race.” El Astronaute used his speed to overcome a bad draw, with Blithe Spirit adopting similar tactics. Bottom weight Powerallied had raced in mid-division and threaded through his opponents in the final furlong to win readily by one and a quarter lengths.
Peggy’s Angel wore her halo to good effect when landing the Kindertons/EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes in a late flourish to score by half a length from Mayyasah. Dougie Costello brought the horse with a well-timed run between the leaders and put the race to bed.
Winning trainer Jo Hughes said: “She’s a filly I’ve always thought a lot of and I wanted to take my time with her. She was a bit unbalanced and Dougie said she was only in third gear and she’s ready to step up now. She’ll be better as a three-year-old; she’s a big horse. There is a race at Ayr for her, but I’ll see how she comes out of the race.
Hold up tactics were adopted by Adam McNamara aboard the 3/1 joint favourite Boundsy to score in the Stella Artois Handicap by a neck. “It was a tough race and they went very quick, but he was the fastest horse in the end,” said McNamara. Liberatum had unleashed a run in front of the stands but did not have the finishing pace of the winner.
Arthur McBride led the field throughout the Thyme People Staffing And Events Handicap before being overhauled approaching the line by St Marys, sent off at 7/1 and ridden by William Cox. The partnership scored by a neck. Cox said: “Some of these have speed over a mile and a half but she’s a proper slogger over two-miles and nothing was going to catch her in the end!”
Attendance at the meeting was 16,807, an increase from 12,586 in 2016. The 2017 Chester Racecourse season continues with a two-day fixture on Friday and Saturday, 15 and 16 September. Fixture dates for Chester Racecourse throughout 2018 are now available to copy into diaries on: http://www.chester-races.co.uk/coming-soon