It is the school holidays this week so me and my family and some friends went to Leicester Races for the afternoon on Tuesday. It was their first ever Student Race Day meeting and the students from colleges and universities all around Leicester were out in force with over one thousand attending to enjoy a day out at the races.
The racing on track didn’t disappoint! The card kicked off with the Saffron 3-y-o Fillies’ Handicap, which was won by a filly named Queen Of Burgundy for jockey Joey Haynes and Christine Dunnett. She was a 40/1 chance but absolutely romped in! She won convincingly by three and a quarter lengths with Tie A Yellowribbon and Beryl The Petal filling the places. This was a huge improvement in form for the Lethal Force filly who was dropping to six furlongs for the first time since her debut.
Next was the fascinating looking British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes over five furlongs. Six of the eight runners were making their debut and there were some very flashy looking horses in the race – particularly the chestnut Orb colt Cool Sphere (you could 100% understand why they spent a whopping 120,000 Guineas on him!). He led all the way but was tackled in the final furlong by the other Cool Silk Partnership horse Majestic Sands and Barry McHugh. This was a big performance by him considering he is bred to stay one miles four plus as he is a half brother to top-class stayer Trip To Paris. In the end those two, along with Ivor, pulled a long way clear of the remainders. They are likely to go on to better things.
The Stathern Claiming Stakes was one I was most looking forward to see as in the field was Jungle Inthebungle. Last season, he was a ‘cliff horse’ for me. Once again, I backed the flashy chestnut but he found two horses too good. Archie’s Lad surged clear, under Paddy Mathers, in the final furlong to make it a double for Richard Fahey and win by two and three quarter lengths to Mick Easterby’s Lady Lavinia. The winner was claimed by a person named Mike Smith.
Harry Bentley was set on making the running on Victory Chime in the Leicester Students Raceday Handicap over the one mile two furlongs trip. Coming into the final two furlongs he was still up there and being challenged by Existential and Allegiant but neither could pass him. He stuck his neck out and prevailed by half a length. It was an excellent ride by Bentley and the horse, who seems to either win or be well beaten, will probably get his head in front again soon.
Sir Michael Stoute took the winning prize with his filly Mulan in the Coronation Fillies’ Handicap. By Kingman, she was the least exposed of the runners having run just three times and she hadn’t shown much good form. In the race, she appeared very green and was a bit all over the place but, when push came to shove, she ran on well and could be a smart, typical Sir Michael Stoute improver as she gets older. No Way Jose ran a huge race to be second off 10st3lbs and is likely to get her head in front soon if not put up too much for this.
Many moons ago, Godolphin unleashed Thunder Snow, a top class, multiple group one winner all over the world, here to win on debut. They had two runners in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes – Big City and Platinum Star. Big City wore the first colours and was bought for 80,000gns whereas his stablemate was one of three having their second run in this race and the experience proved useful when he streaked clear and won by two lengths to Zim Baby and Return To Sender, two big price horses. I watched the race here near to the connections of second placed Zim Baby and they were cheering her home. I think they’ll b leading her into the winners enclosure somewhere soon. She was only bought for about £4000 I think and her connections will have lots of fun with her. Visually, the best looking in the paddock was Otago, owned by the Queen. He’s a very good looking son of Cable Bay and took it all in in the parade ring nicely. He is related to seven winners and an encouraging fifth in this makes me think he’ll be winning soon.
Last was the Oadby Handicap in which Connundrum made all of the running to win for Jack Garrity and Jedd O’Keeffe. The 7/2 joint favourite, he showed signs of still being a bit novicey when drifting left in the final furlong but won comfortably enough. The second placed horse Silkstone wasn’t given much room to challenge in the last furlong but looks to be on a winnable mark.
Overall, it was a brilliant day out. The staff were very friendly, the facilities were excellent and there was so much for youngsters to do. I strongly urge you all to visit Leicester Races as it’s an excellent course and doesn’t get the credit it deserves. 🙂