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Race Meeting Report - 23 May 2017

Tue, May 23, 2017

There were pleasant bright spells until fog descended to make visibility very poor for the last two races. The going was good, good to firm in places on a day when the bookies definitely came out on top.

Few got into the opening two-year-old maiden over 6f. Princess Lyla showed lots of speed, with the grey Holdenhurst (12/1) following her in second place until taking over near the half furlong pole. The Sylvester Kirk gelding, benefiting considerably from his modest debut a week ago, then did enough to hold the late challenges of Hateya and Arabian Jazz by half a length and a head. Mitch Godwin did the steering.

The 7f handicap went to the 7/1 second favourite, Pass The Cristal, who built on the improved form he showed last time out. The wide draw of 16 was no obstacle, as his jockey Dougie Costello bided his time in the rear before coming with a great last-to-first run on the outside in the final two furlongs. The neck victory over Fair Selene ended a quiet spell for trainer William Muir, who'd been winless in May.

Betting on the outsider of three is a popular theory, but is not one that makes money if followed blindly. However, it worked in the 7f fillies handicap, when Ed Vaughan's Staintondale Lass (3/1) got the better of the pace-setting Black Bess by a neck. They had a good tussle from the dip but once Harry Bentley switched his whip to his left hand a furlong out his mount was able to gain a narrow lead and keep it all the way to the line.

It was an Impressive Day (25/1) for Gary Moore and Hector Crouch, shock winners of the first 1m2f handicap. An intrepid quartet set a hot pace and this ex-Godolphin filly, who'd been right out of form, was able to pick up the pieces when they faded. She led over a furlong out and drew four lengths clear of Deep Challenger. Rubensian did well to finish fourth after dwelling in the stalls. Roy Rocket never threatened by finishing fifth.

Front running tactics paid off in the second 1m2f handicap, although Pat Cosgrave, riding Master Of Heaven (10/1), had only a short head in reserve when denying the persistent Tommys Geal. The winner is trained at Epsom by Jim Boyle. Megalala, now 16 years old, ran prominently for a long way before dropping back into the ruck.

David Evans' Sheer Intensity (4/1) got off the mark at the 21st attempt in the first division of the 1m handicap. Asked for an effort fully three furlongs out by John Egan, she took a long time to reach top gear but after making steady progress on the outside she hit the front with half a furlong left. Suddenly she was winning comfortably, and there was a length and three quarters back to World Record.

That was the fourth race in a row in which a favourite had finished second, but worse was to come. On the strength of his win here three weeks ago Buzz Lightyere was backed down to 11/8 for the second 1m handicap, though he looked held when bumped inside the final furlong, and could only manage third. Suitsus (16/1), who'd been slowly away, was another last-to-first winner, although little could be seen of this race due to fog. With Timmy Murphy giving vigorous encouragement, he took the lead about 50 yards out to give Geoffrey Deacon his first success at Brighton for over five years. Two lengths away in second place was With Approval.

The last race was over 6f. The rank outsider Perfect Pastime (16/1) was the first to emerge from the murk at the half furlong pole. He led Black Caesar home by three quarters of a length, to complete doubles for Jim Boyle and Pat Cosgrave.

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Jim Beavis