I was at the meeting as part of my company's corporate hospitality do, so possibly didn't pay as much attention as I might normally have done. Yours truly, representing 'downstairs' I managed 2 winners out of 7 races (two selections in each race!) beating 'Keith from upstairs' who only managed one. The fact that both of landed long odds-on Loulwa, it was a bit like winning a penalty shoot-out 2-1 after 7 attempts each!
2.20 5f 2yo Maiden Auction
Newcomer ANOSTI won this readily, going clear in the final furlong. In the paddock I reckoned there was still a bit to work on with this one so I'd expect improvement. It'll be interesting to see how she's campaigned, as I believe she's in a couple of sales races. In the short term I would certainly be interested if she were aimed at a nursery.
ELIJAH PEPPER led until 1 out, hanging right, but kept on well for second place. STORM JOURNEY improved on previous form in third challenged the second to the line.
RED DELIGHT was badly outpaced from the start, but picked up nicely up the hill and kept on well, She'd been staying on over 6f at Thirsk, so a longer trip will see her to better advantage.
2.50 6f Claimer
SPIRITUAL PEACE hadn't looked madly keen on occasions. He did enough to hold on from REGAL RAIDER in what looked a very moderate event. The latter might be suited by a return to 7 furlongs.
THE SALWICK FLYER showed good pace and kept for third. All the more remarkable considering he'd unshipped her rider on the way to start and run 3 furlongs back past the stands. He still wasn't settled going down, but improved on previous form, so a lowly handicap or seller would seem at his mercy.
THROW THE DICE showed good pace to lead until 1 out. A drop back to five furlongs may help.
3.25 1m 65yds Handicap
IGNITION put a poor run at Musselburgh behind her, she was badly drawn there, setting a steady pace and increasing the gallop to hold on up the hill. LOCAL POET had every chance a furlong out, but the step up to the extended mile was probably a little too much. He's in good form and back at 6 or 7 furlongs would have every chance of picking up a race.
HOWARD'S ROCKET has huge feet which might suggest soft ground suits. Maybe it had dried a bit too much as he couldn't raise the tempo in the last furlong.
Maiden MANDARIN ROCKET had been in good form but fell away tamely up the hill.
JABRAAN held a chance on stands' side 2 out, but didn't get to the leaders, and this could be as good as he is.
NORTHERN DESERT looked in very good nick, but pulled hard early and didn't get to the leaders. I suspect he needs more of a gallop.
4.00 6f Handicap
Irish challenger RICHELIEU was last until 300 yards out, and had to come right round the field to challenge MOZAKRHAF. In the event the former couldn't any nearer than a neck behind the winner, but his Irish form looks very sound and he looks sure to figure in similar events. MOZAKRHAF showed plenty of determination when the chips were down.
JOYEAUX kept on well enough but that looks about as good as he is off this mark.
GEORGE THE BEST was upped in class, and kept on well in the final furlong. He seems generally in good heart and a drop in class again should see him pick up a race.
BRUT showed good pace but faded from a furlong out.
4.35 1m 5f Handicap
Perth hurdle winner BALAKAR led in the final furlong and looked sure to win. Meanwhile some way back......outsider ATLANTIC COAST was detached and Royston Ffrench stoking the coal big time at the 3 furlong pole, and was still last 2 out. The horse then took off, hanging toward the stands' rail, zoomed past the rest and won with a degree of comfort. He clearly has plenty of ability, but I think I'd want to see him run again before risking money. He might just be be value to oppose if coming out under a penalty. All credit to his rider for persevering when some might have called it a day.
The 11yo BALAKAR is probably running out of opportunities and really doesn't need these sneaky tricks from the youngsters.
GOLDEN GROOM ran an honest enough race from 4lbs out of the handicap in third.
QAASI made progress 2 out to threaten but could find no more. THEY ALL LAUGHED had every chance but didn't quite get the leaders and faded in the final furlong.
PEINTRE'S WONDER looked sure to be suited by this longer trip, but didn't threaten to get involved at any point.
RIGHTFUL RULER led till the intersection of the loop then folded.
5.10 1m 3f Maiden
LOULWA was expeccted to win this with a lot in hand, but in the event had to be kept up to her work to hold off the determined LOCHIEL. The winner's connection be chuffed to have got a win into here, and will presumably line up a sterner test. LOCHIEL is now qualified for handicaps and certainly seems to have the right attitude.
STAR OF ANGELS led until 2 out and plugged on to finish well clear of the remainder who quite frankly look slow. Newcomer BEAUTY SHINE ran green up the straight and did at least pass a couple close home, but needs to show more to be competitive.
5.10 1m 3f Aparentice Handicap
RARE COINCIDENCE made the running and showed excellent determination to hold off RELOCATION. Unfortunately ENGLISH ARCHER picked up well from fourth and overtook both in the shadow of the post, much to the delight of a couple of our party who each won a decent sum. Mark Brisbourne normally knows what to do with this sort of horse, and ENGLISH ARCHER clearly has ability so might be worth watching out for in low class staying handicaps.
THE PEN wasn't far back in fourth and will probably be capable of picking up another race.
KID'Z'PLAY was presumably just a 'schoolmaster' here and is basically a jumper these days.
TWILIGHT AVENGER was very slow.