Wednesday 25 July 2001

July 25th, 2001 | 2001 Journals Ian Carnaby's Racing News

Brighton on Monday was just about perfect – warm sunshine, a light sea breeze, and enough winning favourites to keep hardened punters happy. The days when 300 special trains and buses guaranteed that the old course would be packed to the seams are long gone, of course, but Stan Clarke and his team have done a good job and the atmosphere this week was very agreeable.

The closing maiden handicap was a something of a scramble, although I thought Sandpoint was going to land the spoils when she battled on to hold the advantage entering the final furlong. She was then cut down by 25’1 shot Magical River, never sighted in an apprentices’ race at Warwick only two days previously.

Magical River paid 50’1 on the Tote, which was hardly surprising. I admire Milton Bradley, who is good news for punters, and I have no doubt that Magical River simply came on for the outing at Warwick after a long absence. But the stewards should have asked one or two questions, because the horse was completely unfindable on form.

I wish I could have taken something from the race, but the fact is that Sandpoint, who was driven flat-out by Tony Clark, will need a while to recover from her exertions and is probably only plating class. She will not be a great price next time anyway, although I would have a decent bet if she turned out in a Bath claimer or returned to Brighton for something similar.

Lone Piper, a winner at long last when coming with a late flourish at Doncaster, could not follow up in a better sprint handicap at Pontefract two days later.

Just back with the Sandpoint form line for a moment, Gerald Cottrell had thought of running her in the Bath seller won by Parkside Pursuit a few weeks ago. He took her out overnight and, from the way things turned out, she was by no means a good thing to win it. Parkside Pursuit went on to take a non-seller, beating the tough old campaigner Bandbox, and will always have his supporters on Lansdown Hill. Mick Channon has entered him for the claimer on Thursday, which looks the right move.

Ian Carnaby