A look behind closed doors as racing returns to Great Yarmouth
- Credit: PA
Racing returned to Great Yarmouth on Wednesday – and it was Celestran who secured the honour of winning the first flat race on turf in 2020 with a game success in the Head Your Hunch At Betway Handicap.
Having opened his account at Wolverhampton on his final start last season, the John Gosden-trained three-year-old had no issue following up in the mile-and-a-quarter prize in front of the empty grandstands.
Making good headway late on the 11-4 favourite hit the front over a furlong out before keeping on strongly to defeat Bodyline by a length and a half.
Winning jockey Robert Havlin said: “He is by Dansili so he didn’t mind the quick ground. He has got an awkward head carriage but his legs keep going forward.
“The plan was to lead and let him roll along in front but I missed the start. He quickened well on that ground. I wouldn’t be jumping to step him up in trip at the moment.
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“I thought he had the best form coming into the race as his Wolverhampton race has worked out well.”
Dubious Affair showed that stamina is her forte to make her first start for Charlie Fellowes a triumphant one in the Betway Handicap.
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Held up for much of the mile six contest the daughter of Frankel found plenty in reserve during the closing stages to cross the line a length-and-a-half clear of favourite Johnny Kidd.
Fellowes said of the 7-1 chance: “She is a big girl. She is a Frankel out of Sea The Stars mare and she is bred to stay all day.
“At Sir Michael’s they made plenty of use out of her over a shorter trip and I’ve always felt she would stay all day so I said to Stevie (Donohoe) take your time and ride her patiently to make sure she stays.
“She will get two miles. She has got a proper pedigree and could go through the grades a little bit.”
The Lir Jet thrust into the picture for an outing at Royal Ascot later this month following an impressive debut victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Auction Stakes.
The Michael Bell-trained two year old looked money well spent when showing plenty of speed to leave his rivals toiling in the five furlong contest.
Moving through the gears well under former champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa, the 9-2 shot pulled smartly clear to score by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Nick Bell, assistant trainer and owner, said “That was good. We brought him from Ireland about a month ago. People had been working hard to find a good Breeze Up and this horse became available so we picked him up.
“He has done everything right at home and has shown plenty of speed. He has got a great attitude for a horse that was supposed to be a Breeze Up horse.
“We were sweet on him today and the logical step would be to go to Ascot. I think we will see how he is but I’d say it would be for the Norfolk.
“Silvestre said he looks a ready-made Ascot two-year-old so hopefully he will go there next.”
Following the race the son of Prince of Lir was introduced at 16-1 by Paddy Power to try and emulate his sire in the Norfolk Stakes.
Mister Snowdon maintained his unbeaten record to book his place on trainer Richard Hughes’ Royal Ascot team with a surprise success in the opening division of the £betyourway At Betway Novices Stakes.
After making a winning debut at Wolverhampton in March the son of Lethal Force showed he is equally as effective on turf stepped up to seven furlongs for the first time.
Despite being keen early on the 10-1 chance soon settled just behind the early pace before bursting through to take the lead inside the final furlong and lower the colours of the John Gosden-trained 1-2 favourite Enemy by three- quarters-of-a-length.
Hughes said: “He is a decent horse. I was a bit worried about the ground being on the quick side but the family go on it so I took a chance. He was a late maturing two-year old and I only run him a couple of months ago.
“Once he got his confidence he settled well but it took him a while. He is a very raw horse that doesn’t learn quickly. We’ve kind of pencilled in the Jersey and that is the reason I ran him on this ground.
“We thought he was pretty smart and thought he was definitely a 90 horse coming here or maybe more but his work was excellent before he came here and he won first time out on the bit.”
Gosden may have been out of luck with Enemy but there was no stopping Haqeeqy from running out a decisive two-and-a-half length winner of the second division.
The Newmarket handler said: “He is a nice horse and ran well last year. I was desperate to get them on track so that is why I ran two here as they both got balloted out the other day.
“We will stay at seven with him and see what mark he gets and take it from there.”
On Enemy he added: “Enemy wants a mile now and he will be better off over that trip.”
It was a first appearance on track for Gosden since the resumption of racing on Monday following a 76-day shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and the champion trainer praised the measures put in place to get the sport back up and running again.
Gosden said: “It is very well organised. Sticking to the strict protocols is important. We are an outdoor sport and that makes a big difference. We are not in confined spaces in factories or offices and it makes perfect sense we can carry on perfectly sensibly and safely.
“We’ve lost whatever it was March, April and May so we had to get going now or not at all. In a sense we are fortunate that June 1 was the first date we could do it.”