Opal lights up floodlit meeting
REPORT: GREAT LEIGHS, Thursday evening
DESERT OPAL shone brightly when the lights were switched on for the first time at Great Leighs last night when landing the 5f handicap under Luke Morris.
The eight-year-old was notching his 14th career success and the 6-1 shot was soon up with the pace and took over from front runner Rann Na Cille inside the final furlong out before being driven out for three quarter length success from Billy Red.
The winner was carrying the colours of Louise Marsh whose mother-in-law had enjoyed success in her colours a week earlier at the course with Spoof Master.
Lousie Marsh said: "We bought the other part owner out of the horse ten days ago and he has been an absolute star for us. We have had two winners in a week and this has been a fantastic venue for us." Morris was found guilty of improper use of the whip and suspended for one day on September 18.
Morris went onto complete a first and last race double at odds of 47-1 when outgunning Circadian Rhythm on Everyman in the 1m 2f handicap.
The 5-1 shot took up the running over a furlong out and kept on gamely to deny the 5-4 favourite by two and a half lengths.
Especially Special will have a long way to go before justifying an entry in the Cheveley Park Stakes but first base was reached in impressive style when she dotted up in the 5f maiden.
EddieAhern had the 25-1 shot in front over three furlongs out and he was able to take things easy in the closing stages as the daughter of Exceed And Excel passed the post two and a quarter lengths clear.
The winning jockey said: "She was very green at Windsor first time out on soft ground and like all of Sylvester Kirk's they improve a lot for their first run."
Al Gillani was a first winner at the course for Epsom trainer Jimmy Boyle when the 6f auction race under George Baker.
Once again it paid to be close to the pace and the 3-1 shot took up the running from pace setter Wreningham inside the final furlong to score by a length and three quarters.
Boyle said: "That the first winner here in about 13 runners and I am very pleased. He a lovely big backward horse and still a bit green. It all went wrong at Yarmouth last time when he hated the ground and stumbledafter the start. He loved this surface and we will probably stick to the all weather now."
Baker went onto complete a 13-1 double when Cupid's Glory returned to winning form in the 1m 2f handicap.
The 5-2 favourite led over a furlong out and only had to be pushed clear for a three and a half length victory from Suzi Spends.
Philip Hide, representing trainer Gary Moore, said: "He done it well and we would like to think he could win another like this. The owners have waited a long time for this."
Applesnap was another long priced winner when providing Amy Weaver with the second winner of her short career in the 6f handicap.
Hammer Of The Gods and Our Blessing had a real set too in front but Darragh O'Donohoe came to steal their thunder when bringing the 20-1 shot from off the pace to score by two and a quarter lengths.
Especially Special looked a filly with a futurewhen hacking up in the 5f maiden.