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Race Meeting Report - 13 October 2016

Thu, Oct 13, 2016

The curtain came down on Brighton's 2016 season on a breezy day with no hint of the sea frets that sometimes affect the autumn meetings. An unusual addition to the scene was a huge red marquee next to the grandstand, which was being fitted out for the Oktoberfest taking place in the next few days.

The going was good, good to firm in places. The quality of the racing surface had been recognised in the last few days by Brighton receiving the Racecourse Association Groundstaff of the Year award for flat race courses.

Jockeys aimed to come middle to near side for today's races, without wanting to get all the over way to the stands rail. That route was pioneered by Jim Crowley on Saeed bin Suroor's filly Gmaash (6/5 fav), who took the lead halfway through the 6f two-year-old maiden. After looking as though she might win quite comfortably she was all out to hold off the staying-on Desert Mark by a short head. The runner-up lost a shoe, which might have made the difference.

Approaching the last quarter of the mile maiden for two-year-olds, three were set to fight out the finish. Fortunes fluctuated one way and then the other until the final 150 yards, when Luke Morris drove Sir Mark Prescott's Diamond Bear (8/1) into the lead. She ran on well to beat the consistent but luckless Akkadian Empire by a length and three quarters.

Next, there was the first division of a one mile handicap. The Tony Carroll-trained Admirable Art (9/2) was reunited with Adam Kirby, who rode him to a course and distance victory in July. They made all the running, the first of four in a row to do so successfully today. Seeking a four-timer, the handicap snip Titan Goddess challenged from two out without ever getting on terms and went down by a couple of lengths.

Ed de Giles's Carcharias (2/1 fav) had won twice this season over the undulations of Chepstow, and now he demonstrated he could cope with Brighton's by leading throughout the second mile handicap. Bunker Hill Lass tried to go after him in the penultimate furlong, to no avail. The leader found more and went three and a half lengths clear, with Hawk Moth claiming second late on. Jim Crowley was completing a double.

In the 1m2f handicap Tom Marquand was keen to ping Maverik (6/1) out of the stalls, his chances in recent races having been spoilt by being slowly away. He succeeded, took the lead, and stayed there. With a furlong and a half to go there were four in line about a length behind him, but none of them could improve their position and Maverik ran on willingly to score by a length and a quarter from last month's course and distance winner Moss Street.

Before the sixth race a presentation was made to Jim Crowley as a tribute for being the leading jockey at Brighton this year, with 17 wins. Asked if it had been hard work, he said it was harder for his agent, who had to try and get him as many good rides as possible. That was especially true after Glorious Goodwood, the point at which they decided to make a serious effort to go for the title. He was originally a jump jockey, and made the switch about ten years ago never dreaming he would be crowned the nation's champion jockey in a few days at Ascot.

Evanescent (12/1) appreciated the return to 7f and made all the running, with the possible exception of a few moments during the last quarter-mile when three others came level. With George Downing keeping the leader going, they fell away by the last half furlong and it was Rio's Cliffs who ran on late to get to within half a length. Tony Carroll trained the winner.

A furlong into the 6f handicap horrified gasps greeted the commentator's declaration that Hipz, the Crowley-ridden favourite, was a long way behind after a bad start. At the business end of the race many had chances and just as National Service seemed to have taken command half a furlong out Suni Dancer (8/1) swept past on the near side to win by a length. Her first victory in two years completed a double for George Downing and a treble for Tony Carroll, enabling him to finish the season as Brighton's top trainer with eleven wins.

The final event was a typically tricky 5f handicap. John Gallagher's Bahamian Sunrise (7/1) had been running well all season and he disputed the lead in a strongly-run race before taking over a furlong out. Ridden by Fergus Sweeney, he had half a length in hand at the line from Taajub, who threatened on the far rail, and One Big Surprise, who finished with a flourish in third.

Racing resumes here on the evening of Saturday 15 April.

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Jim Beavis