Doubles, Dragons and Dreams Dominate at Chester on Halewood Summer Saturday
A strong crowd of over 21,200 racegoers attended Halewood Summer Saturday on Saturday 10 June. The first June fixture of the 2017 season saw a 9% uplift on attendance in 2016 and racegoers were in good spirits as they enjoyed a day of competitive racing and sampling, courtesy of Halewood brands Crabbies, Liverpool Gin, Whitley Neill Gin and Willow Water. Hundreds of racegoers took part in a competition to win prizes courtesy of the gin brands, all in the spirit of Wold Gin Day!
There was an exciting battle between Vona and Starlight Romance in the Liverpool Gin Handicap Stakes, the feature race on the card at Halewood Summer Saturday. Devil’s Bridge was the leader, taking advantage of being drawn in stall one. Entering the straight Casmiro came wide to challenge with the other two prominent horses coming between the leaders to fight out a photo finish. Starlight Romance was announced the winner by a short head. “My advice was that she’d jump well and travel in the race. I thought I’d won and she just got up,” said the successful jockey Adam McNamara.
McNamara recorded a quick double when landing the Willow Water Handicap with Megan Lily, sent off at 7/2. Poet’s Society ran the inside rail and was accompanied by Impart. A line down the centre of the course proved successful as Megan Lily accelerated past the leaders to win by half a length. The jockey said: “They went a good gallop and I had to go wide to get a run, then she picked up well.”
Franny Norton won the Crabbie’s Handicap by one length aboard Miss Ranger with a trademark sweeping run up the inside rail. “Everything went smoothly but we weren’t sure about her staying a mile and a half. The leaders made a hole and opened it up for me. I was always confident she’d win,” explained Norton.
Ar,um jumped promptly away to set the early pace in the opening race, the Halewood Wines & Spirits Novice Median Auction Stakes before the hard-pulling Awsaaf went on only to be overtaken by Carouse who look to have the race won. However, Dougie Costello conjured up a further effort from Armum; returned at 5/1 and recorded a winning distance of half a length. “She’s tough, she’s got a few quirks and she idled in front,” said Costello.
Costello also recorded a double when excitement mounted as 9/1 chance Dragon King flew past the pace-setters to land the Whitley Neill Gin Handicap by a short head from Russian Realm. The jockey said: “He’s a strong traveller and to be honest I was stuck in a pocket but I wouldn’t have wanted to get there any sooner.”
“I was a further back than I wanted to be in the race but then she got to the front sooner than I wanted but she stuck to her guns well” explained PJ McDonalds after landed the JJ Whitley Fillies’ Handicap by one length aboard Alpine Dream with Forever A Lady in second place.
Racing concluded with the Tommy & Sheila Clisham Anniversary Handicap. Lord Franklin was the early leader before Jabbaar went on in the straight. Al Destoor bravely negotiated a narrow opening and galloped readily clear to score unopposed by five lengths.
Visiting Owner David Henery finished his mission to visit all UK racecourses with a final visit to Chester, with his runner Red Tycoon entered in the penultimate race of the day. Unfortunately, David missed out the win but did take home his visiting Owners badge to complete the collection.
The next two consecutive fixtures at Chester are Grosvenor Shopping Centre Ladies Evening on Friday 30 June and Matthew Clark Summer Festival on Saturday 1 July. County Long Room badges are sold out for both fixtures as are Winning Post badges for the Friday evening fixture.
Tickets and badges are available to buy online here or by calling the Box Office on 01244 304 600.