THERE were big-priced winners on City Plate Day, which witnessed a surprise win for 20-1 chance Viscount Barfield in the feature race, writes ARTHUR SHONE.
Trained by Andrew Balding, the leading trainer at the course this season with six winners to date, the former course and distance winner was given a great ride from Rob Hornby.
Having established a lead, Hornby held on well by a head from the heavily-backed jolly Jungle Cat with Franny Norton aboard.
Jallota was a further two and a quarter lengths back in third.
Speaking after the race, Hornby said: “It is so nice to get back on this horse, we struck up a good partnership last season.
“He has improved over the winter, and the beauty of this horse is that you can spin him on a sixpence, he just loves this tight course.
“It is so good to ride a big race winner for the boss again.”
Readers who took my advice that the Mark Johnston trained Hochfield was a good thing for the Manor Car Hire Handicap Stakes, never had an anxious moment.
The son of Cape Cross made every yard under course specialist rider Franny Norton to win easily by eight lengths from Look My Way with Hornby in the plate.
Johnston was represented at the course by his wife Deidre, who said: “Look at the gash on his off hind leg that was done at the last meeting here, the vets have done a great job with the horse, as it looked nasty at the time.
“Franny gave the horse a great ride and dictated the pace as we knew he would stay.”
The winner is on a mark of 84 at present and looks certain to go up at least 10lbs for this win, which would put him on to a mark of 94, and if he keeps improving it would not be a surprise if he developed into a St Leger horse.
There was another big priced winner of the CSP Audio Visual Handicap Stakes, which went to the 12-1 shot Storm King under Steve Drowne who beat Theos Lolly by three parts of a length with Age Of Elegance a length and a half back in third.
The winner is trained by the Farndon-born trainer David Griffiths, who also had a winner at York with Take Cover.
Speaking after the race Drowne said: “He was very game, he is a good honest horse, the good clip suited us and I was surprised how much he had left when I asked him”
The opening Stella Artois /EBF Stallions novice stakes turned out to be a long furlong for backers of the Tom Dascombe trained Ginbar.
Under Fran Berry, the well backed son of Kodiac looked all over the winner until caught in the final two strides by the James Given trained Gift In Time under a very confident ride by Adam Beschizza to win a thriller by a neck from the graveyard draw eight.
Palmer was a further length and three quarters back in third.
Speaking after the race Beschizza said: “The step up in trip helped today and the ground was better for him as he did not act on the soft on his debut at Haydock. He will improve a lot more from this race today.”
The Richard Fahey trained The Wagon Wheel sprang a 10-1 shock in the MBNA Make Good Stuff Happen Fillies Handicap Stakes, and in doing so gave jockey Connor Murtagh is first winner at the Roodee.
The winner was drawn out with the washing in stall nine but he hung badly across the course and ended up racing alone on the stands side.
This tactic worked wonders as the filly won by three lengths from Avon Breeze under Callum Rodriguez with Turanga Leela a further three parts of a length back in third.
Murtagh was elated when I spoke to him afterwards, saying: “He kept hanging right across the course, but once we reached the running rail I was able to keep her straight and she was going away at the end.”
On a day of big priced winners, it came as no surprise to see Kryptos land the Getting Out Stakes at 11-1 under Nicola Currie, who came late and fast on the John Berry gelding to deny Plant Pot Power under Rossa Ryan by three parts of a length with Proud Archi a similar distance back in third.
Fahey and Murtagh went on to complete a double on Boundsy in the West Way Nissan Handicap Stakes aboard Boundsy who stuck his neck out for a game neck success over the well backed jolly Love Oasis with Norton in the plate.
The fast finishing Amber Fort was a further head back in third.
See full story in the Chester Leader