There was some interesting racing on this increasingly murky evening, which was punctuated by showers that changed the going from good to firm initially to good.
Victoria Pendleton was the centre of attention in the first, a contest for amateur riders over 1m4f. Her mount Royal Etiquette forfeited what little chance he had on form by lingering in the stalls for some time after they had opened. At the business end of the race, Jersey Jewel (4/1 fav) travelled well for Charlotte Greenway and eased into the lead two out. The rest had cried enough by then, except for Miss Tiger Lily, who rallied in spirited style to get to within a length and a quarter. Tom Dascombe trained the winner, who might run here again on Sunday.
One horse slipped up when pulling up on the bend after the winning post, and brought down another when running loose. An inspection of the ground there found that racing was safe to continue, but it meant the next race, a 6f event for two-year-olds, went off 20 minutes late. Eve Johnson Houghton's stable continues in great form and her Bahamadam sprang a 33/1 surprise under Robert Winston. Finding a nice gap near the rail, she passed eight rivals in the penultimate furlong to score in great style. The length and three quarters gap back to the well-supported Bee Case could have been doubled.
Punters were dealt another blow in the 5f handicap, where the favourite John Joiner looked set for victory when taking the lead a furlong out, only to be hustled and ultimately touched off in the last stride by the filly Pink Martini (16/1). Oisin Murphy rode the short head winner for Joseph Tuite.
September Stars (8/13 fav) won in good style over a mile here last week and was even more impressive tonight, making all the running and streaking away from her opponents in the final furlong. Harlequin Striker came second, six lengths behind. Jim Crowley was riding the winner for Ralph Beckett, who might turn her out again later this week.
Just about everything had a chance entering the last furlong of the 6f handicap but it was
Goring (18/1), who had been dropped to this distance for the first time in two years, who showed his liking for it by making steady progress from the rear to hit the front about 50 yards out. It was another Eve Johnson Houghton success at big odds, this one being ridden by John Fahy. Free Zone finished a half-length second.
Heartstone set the pace in the 1m2f maiden, and saw off the challenge of Blaze Of Hearts in the penultimate furlong, but she didn't have enough left to withstand the strong finish of Julia Dream (5/4 fav). This William Haggas-trained filly was driven into the lead by Pat Cosgrave in the last hundred yards to prevail by half a length. Stamina is her forte.
The last was a handicap over a mile and a quarter. Like most of tonight's races, come-from-behind tactics proved successful. The Hughie Morrison filly Senza Una Donna (7/2) was last till three out, when Charlie Bennett asked her for an effort on the stands side. She responded well and took the lead with a furlong to go. So Celebre laid down a stern challenge, which the winner gamely repelled by a neck.