Does Brighton rock for the Secret Racegoer?
You’ve got to love Brighton. A quirky track that’s home to moderate horses who’s jockeys need to have their wits about them with the seemingly never-ending left-hand turn made more difficult by a slight right-handed dog-leg encountered in longer races, and constant undulations.
As the racecourse presenter said before the 1m2f apprentice handicap, it was going to be tricky for the jockeys, but good experience.
One rider who had a possible unfair advantage was Katherine Begley who was on board Roy Rocket, a horse who has won nine times at Brighton and knows every blade of grass.
Unfortunately, the old-timer could not add to his tally of winners which was not good news for one group of his supporters, including Racing Post features editor Katherine Fidler, David Ashforth and Steve Dennis, formerly of that parish, the Racing Hub’s own Whistlejacket, and the Secret Racegoer, who had pooled their few remaining pound coins to have wager with bookmaker Sam Harris.
He informed David Ashforth that the bet was struck at 5/1 but he’d pay out anything longer than fives if the price drifted, which was an early indication that Harris’s satchel would be a little heavier going home.
Roy Rocket drifted to 6/1 and was never better than fourth, albeit running on at the finish. Trainer John Berry (pictured) had warned before the race that 1m4f suited the 9yo better, and was saying the same afterwards.
The winner, Seaborn (pictured), ridden by 7lb claimer William Carver, earned his connections £3,105.12, a small percentage of the day’s overall prize-money of £62,000,
Indeed, it’s not clear what was more valuable, the day’s prize-money or one racegoer’s jacket. Apparently, it used to be a suit but he went through the trousers.
Another apprentice, last season’s champion, Jason Watson, has a good record at Brighton, and added to his wins at the seaside track with a nicely judged race on Shamson in the 5f opener. It was his 22nd Brighton winner and his sixth across all tracks this year in a campaign that’s starting to get going after he suffered a neck injury earlier in the year.
Brighton Racecourse looks out over the sea, with views of Roedean School, the Marina, pier and the BA i360 viewing tower which has overcome its early gremlins which left tourists high and dry, stuck in the viewing pod 450ft above sea-level.
It used to be possible to look down from the stands into the Brighton district of Kemptown, and watch the buses weave their way round the residential streets. The view is gone now, due to the planting of trees on the far side of the finishing straight – probably the only bit the of the horse-shoe shaped track that is straight.
Trouble is, the trees now block the far side of the course from view unless you climb to the top of the stand, which is bit vertigo inducing.
Also gone from view are advertising hoardings which seemed to stretch back down the track from the winning post for about half a furlong. It looked bit like a boarded-up branch of Woolworths, covered in fly-posters. The remaining advertisers next to the lollipop are local taxi companies and Donnatello’s pizzeria, so you know how you’re going to get home with an idea for dinner.
As with sister Arc course Windsor, where last year annual members were turfed out of their palatial trackside bar, Brighton’s annual members are less than pleased with their new lounge. It’s the old Tote Credit office for whose who remember, and it’s been likened to a waiting room at a bus station.
Finally, a mention for the racecard and a page with tips for picking a winner – a helpful guide on studying form, looking at the runners in the parade ring and having a bet. It would be good to see it as standard content in all racecards, albeit that bookmakers might want a mention as an option for having a wager.
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