Brighton’s EBF Newhaven To Le Havre On Transmanche Ferries Maiden Stakes has been landed by some decent future performers in its various guises over the years and this year’s winner Smokey Storm will soon be stepped up in grade too.
The only runner of the day from a rare visitor to the track in William Jarvis, the 9-4 shot only obliged by the skin of his teeth with a head verdict over 6-5 favourite Brenin Taran.
Brenin Taran looked home and hosed but for the perseverance of Alan Munro, who got his mount up on the line.
“He’s a bonny little colt. He won’t be good enough, but he is a horse who could end up in the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom on Derby Day,” said Jarvis.
Neil Callan dominated the rest of the card with a near 1436-1 four-timer to move into the lead in the jockeys’ championship.
“My agent worked hard to get me a good book of rides. Quite a few of them were in the first three in the betting and luck was on my side,” said Callan.
Gay Kelleway is one of his staunch supporters when Callan rides away from the north of Britain and he found a clear run in a messy race on her Punching (4-1) in the transmancheferries.co.uk Selling Stakes before steering home Bienheureux (9-2) for an easy victory in the Transmanche Ferries Handicap.
“Neil’s ridden me a good few winners over the years and he’ll travel all over the country,” said Kelleway.
“I’ve always thought it would be worth him having a go for the championship.
“We bought Bienheureux three years ago to run at Great Leighs as his owner lives near there and he eventually ran there last week.
“Punching’s been beaten a few times when we fancied him and we’d lost faith really. He’s evidently better on grass.”
The other Callan winners came from a positive ride on Stuart Williams’ Aphrodisia (17-2) in the Portsmouth To Le Havre On Transmanche Handicap and a more patient one on 9-2 joint-favourite Napoletano for the Newhaven To Dieppe On Transmanche Ferries Handicap.
Napoletano continues to give his owner Helen Chamberlain plenty of fun and the Soccer AM presenter was on hand to welcome in the seven-year-old, who must be produced late.
“This place just suits him and he’ll be coming back during the summer, although a weak handicap at Goodwood would be within his reach,” said trainer Simon Dow.
The slow-starting Millfield (100-30) came home fastest under Jim Crowley in the Visitez Les Seven Sisters Avec Transmanche Handicap.
Richard Hughes gave up the ride on Alex Hales’ What Do You Know (13-2) in the Visitez The Cote D’Albatre With Transmanche Handicap. He won by two and a half lengths for David Kinsella instead.