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Race Meeting Report - 3 May 2017

Wed, May 3, 2017

The going was good to firm as Brighton staged the second half of its early May double bill. On a chilly evening odds on shots and outsiders dominated, and it was tough to make a profit betting. Two veterans took the last two events in grand style.

Everything went to plan in the first race. Like yesterday, it was a 5f dash for two-year-olds and, like yesterday, Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning combined to win it with an odds on favourite. Cardsharp (8/11 fav) made all the running, gradually extending his lead over last week's course and distance runner-up Milton Road to three and a half lengths. Felisa showed a bit of promise in third.

El Torito (12/1) had shown little since finishing third at Glorious Goodwood last year. In today's 7f handicap Jim Boyle fitted him with cheekpieces for the first time and his jockey Sam Hitchcott took advantage of a huge gap appearing on the rails to bolt through, take the lead two out and go clear. Spirit of Sarwan finished fast from a long way behind to get to within half a length.

Gypsy Rider (12/1) was fifth here last week, which didn't look particularly encouraging at the time, but today was very different. Running fourth until the three leaders drifted wide and ran out of steam, he hit the front two out only to be joined in the last furlong by Tidal's Baby. That one got his head fractionally in front but the Gypsy fought back and in the last few strides regained the lead to triumph by what looked like less than the official distance of a head. It was a good ride by Stevie Donohoe and a rare winner for Lambourn trainer Henry Tett.

The 1m4f handicap went to another lead-regainer, Albert Boy (10/1), trained by Scott Dixon in Nottinghamshire. Josephine Gordon kept him amongst the front-runners until pushing on three out, only for the grey Innoko to take over in front at the two pole and go a couple of lengths ahead. However, he tired approaching the line and Albert Boy stayed on past him for a half length success.

A four-runner 1m2f maiden was won by the 4/9 favourite Alnasl, albeit not without a few moments of concern. The Archie Watson-trained filly loomed alongside Makkadangdang on the bridle two out, but Edward Greatrex had to shake her up vigorously in order to go past. It may have just been greenness, for she scored easily in the end and had a length and three quarters in hand at the finish.

For some years John Bridger has been renowned for his ability to keep old-timers like Megalala sweet. His twelve-year-old Shifting Star (7/2) provided yet another example by making all the running in the mile handicap, with his regular pilot William Carson aboard. Last week's course winner Stormbound challenged from three out but couldn't get past the leader, whose victory by three quarters of a length was the 16th of his 141 race career.

Paddy Pilley had come to Brighton for one ride after having one in the last race at Ascot this afternoon, and the journey proved worthwhile as he partnered Sir Geoffrey (11/1) to win the 6f handicap. The horse, named after his owner, is an eleven-year-old who had never run here before. He was three lengths ahead coming out of the dip and though the consistent Virile got to within a neck, he couldn't get any closer. Scott Dixon completed a double with a horse who was winning the 19th of his 139 starts.

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Jim Beavis