Gamble pays off for Bloom

Brighton paid back something of a debt of gratitude to Tony Bloom by providing him with a winner at his local track.

Brighton paid back something of a debt of gratitude to Tony Bloom by providing him with a winner at his local track.

The businessman and successful high-stakes poker player invested a reported £93m (€108.7m) into Brighton & Hove Albion and became the chairman of the football club back in May.

Bloom, whose nickname is 'The Lizard', is now joint-owner of professional gambler Harry Findlay's extensive string of racehorses and came to the course to see the William Haggas-trained Bab At The Bowster break her duck in the Maiden Auction Stakes.

An 8-13 favourite on account of her promising debut third to Walk On Water at Ascot, the daughter of Footstepsinthesand was always prominent under Liam Jones.

Bab At The Bowster wandered a little in the closing stages but was too good for her rivals, beating Pastello by two and a quarter lengths.

"We fancied her today, so it was a good result," said Bloom, who was accompanied by many of his family, including 92-year-old grandfather Arnold.

"Early on I was a bit worried as she didn't settle too well but she has run on well at the end and was pulling away.

"I've come back down for the weekend as it's the club's first game of the season on Saturday against Walsall.

"We only just survived in League One on the final day so we're looking to push on this season."

The feature race of the second of the three-day August meeting was the Brighton Challenge Cup, where Eton Fable enjoyed a lead from virtually pillar to post.

They went a crawl in the early stages but Travis Block seized the initiative and held on to the lead to the line from 2-1 favourite Halfway House.

Winning trainer Bill Ratcliffe said of the 22-1 shot: "I was quite surprised he got such a soft lead and he doesn't have a turn of foot so it was a very long final half-furlong for me!

"It was an unknown coming to this track but his other two wins have been at Pontefract, which is a turning track, so we were hopeful he'd handle it and it's a nice prize to win."

Royston Ffrench (Step This Way) got a two-day careless riding ban (August 22-23), while Jamie Spencer on Halfway House was banned for August 22 for a whip transgression.

It remains a mystery as to why Scobie Coogan only has two horses in his Fenland stables but he continued to deliver the goods in the Fillies' Handicap.

Lady Florence lacks the billing of the Coogan family's other horse, the fine sprinter Matsunosuke, but should not be underestimated at Brighton, where she has now won three times and the 5-2 shot was always going that bit better than Ocean Countess and Goodbye Cash.

Coogan's son Vincent said: "That's seven wins this year with only two horses - we're going for 10!

"She loves it round here and Liam Keniry gets on well with her. She's entered again on Sunday but she'll have a 6lb penalty so I shouldn't think she'll run."

Fleeting Star, representing same connections of July Cup winner Fleeting Spirit - owners The Searchers, trainer Jeremy Noseda and jockey Tom Queally - justified odds of 8-11 in the Bet In-Play At Handicap.

Queally said: "Her second at Ascot last time was rock-solid, we just happened to run into a good one (Rapid Water) on the day.

"She took a while to get past them, but it was fairly straightforward."

Hayley Moore, sister of Ryan and daughter of Gary, ended a five-year wait for her second winner aboard Theocritus (11-4) in the Rina Tairo Jewellery Brighton Belle Lady Riders' Handicap, while course regular Recalcitrant bagged the Handicap.

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