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Race Meeting Report - 15 May 2017

Mon, May 15, 2017

Although only one favourite succeeded, winners weren't too hard to find on a grey, blowy afternoon on Whitehawk Hill. The going was good, good to soft in places.

The first race was a 5f maiden for two-year-olds. The little bit of juice in the ground suited Secret Strategy (13/8), who had track experience too. Once Adam Beschizza urged him into a clear lead two out he was in no danger and his win took Julia Feilden off the cold trainers list. Lambrini Legacy filled second spot almost three lengths away with the favourite Golden Easter, who'd been reluctant to enter the stalls, a disappointing third.

John Spearing's nine-year-old Whitecrest hit form last time out, and it was surprising that she drifted from her morning odds out to 5/1 despite being napped in the Racing Post for the 6f handicap. Under the distinctive Luke Morris drive, she got up in the last few strides to deprive Mr Chuckles by a short head.

Three of the quintet in the 7f handicap were strongly fancied, primarily the Michael Appleby-trained In Ken's Memory (7/4 fav). After winning the best turned out award she made all the running for Silvestre de Sousa, kicking on two and a half furlongs out. She looked vulnerable to a challenge in the penultimate furlong but asserted in the last hundred yards to come home two lengths ahead of Murdanova.

The fourth race, a one mile handicap, looked like a really good contest with four promising three-year-olds all vying for favouritism. At halfway Mark Johnston's recently-gelded grey Morning Suit (4/1) was last and chased along for a few strides, but coming out of the dip he produced a terrific run on the outside. By the furlong pole he was four lengths clear and Silvestre de Sousa could afford to ease down. Munawer halved the deficit to finish second and the twelve-year-old Shifting Star outstayed the other youngsters to finish third.

The Thirsk winner Melabi was all the rage for the 1m4f handicap. His jockey settled him at the rear and rode him confidently. However, Gary Moore's Light Of Air (5/2) hadn't read the script and, running wide, he hit the front approaching the quarter mile pole. Melabi's run took him to within a length or two, only for his effort to peter out as the leader bounded five lengths clear. Timmy Murphy was the successful jockey.

They went a good gallop in the 1m2f classified stakes and coming down the hill all 14 runners were being bustled along. Av A Word (6/1) came wide from well off the pace to take the lead off Betsalottie a furlong out and, drifting over to the far rail, went a couple of lengths clear. To her credit Betsalottie rallied and got to within a neck of the winner, who was completing a double for Luke Morris. The pair were eight lengths ahead of Lemon Drop, who was last on the inside at halfway and charted a very wide route to finish third.

The last was a 5f dash. Trainer Peter Crate withdrew the expected favourite and it was his stablemate, the ten-year-old Taajub (7/2), who cashed in by leading throughout under Fergus Sweeney. The well-named The Big Lad tried to challenge, but was all at sea on the camber and failed by two lengths.

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Jim Beavis