GALLOPING MOON vindicated her position as ante-post favourite when leading home a brilliant one-two for trainer Kevin Hutton in the final of the Coral Brighton Belle at Hove on Thursday.

The bitches-only event, first run at the Sussex venue in 1975, had been one of the few races the Derby and Oaks-winning handler had not won, but he made up for it – and some – with a first and second in the £2,500 decider.

“I suppose over the years we haven’t had too many runners in the Brighton Belle, but it’s still nice to win it – and we’ve been doing okay in the bitches’ competitions this year. Let’s hope it continues to the Oaks again!” said Hutton.

Favourite for Thursday’s final, despite defeat in the semi-finals behind Baran Spitfire (Jamie Kingsley), Galloping Moon gained his revenge over that rival as she broke well and was always handy outside as kennelmate Lassies Gate also trapped well.

Indeed the Hutton pair had the race in safe-keeping from the get-go, with the younger Lassies Gift (Ballymac Vic-Priceless Lassie, Sept 17) nosing ahead down the far side, although the eventual winner, successful over six bends, was never far away.

Swinging for home, the Rod and Jack Yates-owned Galloping Moon (Tullymurry Act-Galloping Maeve, Dec 2016) went on to win by a length in 30.22sec from Lassies Gift, with local hope Gowan Sublic (Richard Rees) staying on well to finish a close-up third.

“We’re certainly over the moon!” joked the winning trainer. “Winning the Brighton Belle with Galloping Moon is just fantastic. We’ve always thought a lot of her and she’s just show strong over four bends that 515m at Hove really was perfect.

“I’m very pleased with how both girls performed and it was a great buckle between the pair – and providing they didn’t get in each other’s way, which was unlikely given Gallopiing Moon runs wide, it was almost the perfect race for the kennel.

“The stiff 515m trip is just about ideal for Moon and the draw in trap six was a big bonus and she used it well. Both will have a week or so off before heading to Swindon as we build up towards the Oaks. We were fortunate enough to win it last year.

“Thanks to all the team, but especially to Donna (partner and assistant). She was in charge at Hove on Thursday and to come away with the first two in the big race and another winner in Swansalona Player makes it a good night’s work!”

Brian Murphy, stadium manager at the Coral track, said: “Thursday was another fantastic night’s racing here, topped off by the Coral Brighton Belle Final and well done to Kevin Hutton and his team for a superb one-two.

“I thought overall it was a great competition with high-class entries and support from many trainers. Thanks to everyone who showed their interest this year and helped us put on a really good bitches’ event. This competition has a special place here.

“Congratulations to connections of Galloping Moon but well done also to all those who made the final – and helped make it a great night all-round. There was a real buzzy atmosphere last night in the restaurant and in the stands.

“Next up for us and open-race fans here is the Coral Olympic. Entries close on Tuesday, December 10 and, because of how the Xmas dates have landed this year, will be our first Category One event run on Saturday nights and we’re really excited.

“Thursday final nights always bring about a great atmosphere, but add in the higher attendance figures for Saturdays, of course, and we hope to see something special to help the build-up to the Christmas period – and afterwards – go well.

“My advice for people planning to come down to Brighton & Hove Stadium is to book tickets by calling 01273 013334. The Olympic takes place on three straight Saturdays – December 14, 21 and 28. Due to Xmas parties, be quick to avoid disappointment!”