It was a case of so near, but yet so far for connections of the gambled-on Musical Bridge at Bath.
Trained in Cheshire by Lisa Williamson, the Night Shift juvenile was the subject of heavy market support from 33s into 17-2 as he made his racecourse debut in the Lindley Catering Maiden Stakes.
Musical Bridge must have been doing something right at home as he bounced out of the stalls and seemed set for victory under Tolley Dean.
That was until April Pride (3-1) and Richard Hughes flew home late to poke his nose in front at the post.
At least the runner-up’s owner John Conway was gracious in defeat.
“You have to take it on the chin,” he rued.
“Lisa has done a great job and it was very exciting as he still ran well anyway.”
Richard Hannon jnr, assistant trainer of April Pride, said: “She’s been pretty slow out of the gates at home but was much better today.
“We might just sit on her for a bit now.”
Barry Hills was present to see Classic entry Sugar Mint break her duck in the Weatherbys Bank Maiden Stakes.
Sixth to Proviso in the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Ascot on her final start last season, the 8-13 favourite was expected to oblige and Hills seemed satisfied enough to nominate loftier targets as his son Michael drove her out to beat Duntulm by a length and a quarter.
“Michael said she just got a bit tired on the ground at the end but my horses have all been backward,” said the Lambourn trainer.
“She showed us quite a lot last year – she would not have been running in those Group races otherwise.
“I’d be looking at the Cheshire Oaks or the Musidora now, depending on ground.”
David Evans saddled the first and third home in an eventful Lindley Catering Selling Stakes.
Third-placed Syrup was squeezed by Tarawa Atoll shortly before the line, with the runner-up’s jockey Tadhg O’Shea receiving a four-day ban (April 23-26) for careless riding.
Syrup in turn moved into Evans’s Heaven Or Hell, 3-1 favourite and the mount of Tom McLauglin, but he carried on gamely to score by half a length.
“Someone gave me the winner at the sales for nothing and I only paid a couple of thousand Euros for the third,” said Evans.
“It must be a bad race – neither of them are much good.”
The trainer had to pay 4,200 guineas to retain the winner.
Stan Moore opened his account for the turf campaign as the consistent Ryan’s Future justified 11-4 favouritism in the Weatherbys Finance Handicap.
Lupita (13-2) supplemented Brendan Powell’s winner at Towcester by holding onto the Edward Charles Investments Ltd Handicap, while 11-year-old Digital (9-2) brought the house down in the closing Asset Property Brokers Handicap with his third course victory.