Racing began with an impressive three-length winning performance from Miss Puddles on her second outing in the Stella Artois Novice Median Auction Stakes. Winning jockey Adam McNamara said: “We always thought she was speedy and she was very green first time out. She was impressive today and there’s plenty more to come from her.” Miss Puddles raced prominently and had the field strung out behind her in the final stages of the race.
Sent off at 4/1, Rutherford kicked clear as the field entered the straight for the MBNA Good Stuff Fillies’ Handicap and had the field toiling behind her. Kieren Fox brought Shaaqaaf with a run but she still had half a length to make up as the winner crossed the line under an enterprising ride. “They didn’t go quick enough for her last time out. I got a couple of lengths on them and she did it well,” said successful jockey Shane Gray.
After landing the first, trainer Richard Fahey recorded a double with Dan Troop, returned at 7/2, in the Sebastian Artois Apprentice Handicap. “He makes the job easy and was always travelling well; he just picked up. The season is going quite well; we like Chester!” said Conor Murtagh who partnered the winner. Several horses were in contention a furlong from home but the winner scooted to the front in a matter of strides and was seven lengths clear of Original Choice crossing the line.
“Ooh la la,” said Franny Norton as he dismounted from the winner of the ANS Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, the 10/11 favourite, What A Home. Three horses battled out an exciting finish with the winner having the pace to open up a one and a quarter length margin encouraged by prolonged driving from Norton. “She came from an impossible position and totally lost her rhythm. They weren’t going that quick and she showed a good heart to get me out of trouble,” added Norton.
Blithe Spirit occupied her customary front running role in the Chalice Handicap Stakes and looked to have the race won until 6/1 chance Confessional provided a different story with a smooth run which took him into the lead by three-quarters of a length. Winning jockey Lewis Edmunds commented: “I wanted to get a lead for a long as I could and it got a bit tight but he picked up well.”
In the Stella Artois 4% Handicap Stakes Kajaki was the early leader before Berrahri went on in the second circuit and raced with pricked ears and won readily by two and a half lengths.
“He’s a good horse with a very big heart, which helps to win races like that,” said winning jockey Kieren Fox.
Trainer John Best and jockey Kieren Fox recorded a quick double when landing the Stella Artois Cidre Handicap Stakes by four-lengths with Glenys The Menace, sent off at 7/1. “It’s been worth coming up for, it’s a lovely course; we’ve enjoyed it. She’s a decent sized filly and improving all the time. All the horses are running well and we need to get them out,” said Best.
Racing was enjoyed by a crowd of 20,739.
The MBNA Family Funday, a perenially popular fixture, is the next occasion when racing takes place at Chester Racecourse this season on Sunday 6 August; the fixture includes free activities for younger racegoers on the Open Course.