Chester Preview – Wednesday 5th May
1:45pm – Lily Agnes Stakes – 5F 17Y
Fillies have won 4 of the last 5 renewals of this race, with 4 of the last 5 winners also winning last time out before they ran in this race. As ever at Chester the draw will be crucial and 4 of the last 5 winners were drawn in stall 4 or under. ARMOR for Richard Hannon could be anything but DEVIOUS ANGEL was impressive last time out at Southwell and with Richard Kingscote in the saddle looks sure to go close for Tom Dascombe who targets this meeting. It is a very tricky race with 2 year olds, running around a track like Chester on ground that will likely be softer than many of these have encountered before. At bigger odds LUCY LULU made an impressive debut when she showed a willing attitude to beat the well regarded Tyson, who is trained by Richard Hannon. She was always prominent that day and having already showed a good attitude to knuckle down when asked, she could be dangerous if they decide to adopt similar tactics here.
So not a race to go lumping on anything but DEVIOUS ANGEL (Best priced 11/4 BOG with Bet365) and LUCY LULU (Best priced 11/1 Ladbrokes) are two that both fit the trends and would be our selections in this race.
2:15pm – Cheshire Oaks – 1M 3F 75Y
DUBAI FOUNTAIN is being very well backed in the early market, but no horse has won this race off a lay off since 2002, which would have to be a concern. ZEYAADAH proved she handles cut in the ground when she won a listed race at Newmarket on heavy ground, though the stat that no horse has won this off a lay off since 2002 would be a negative, as would the fact that no horse has won this race carrying a penalty since 2001. John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien have dominated this contest in recent years with O’Brien winning 6 of the last 12 renewals and Gosden taking 2 of the last 3. Aidan O’Brien runs LA JACONDE in this who whilst looking more exposed than her rivals, would have a fitness advantage. The same applies to DARLECTABLE YOU who runs for John Gosden and owner Lord Lloyd Webber. With an extremely impressive pedigree some people may think that the Oaks entry has been disappointing in her career to date finishing 2nd twice, but John Gosden who has now been joined in training by his son Thady, is a master at bringing his horses along slowly, and a further step up in trip combined with a fitness advantage over the other market principals earns DARLECTABLE YOU the vote in this. At bigger odds it would be no surprise to see AHANDFULOFSUMMERS out run her odds with a step up in trip likely to bring about more improvement.
DARLECTABLE YOU (Best priced 4/1 BOG with Bet365) is our selection in this race. The Gosden filly can currently be backed for the Oaks at Epsom at 33/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair. Should she win this race today we feel that price is likely to come in much shorter, so if like us, you believe that there is a good chance she will win the race today, it may be worth backing her for the Oaks as you could find yourself sitting on a nice Antepost slip this time tomorrow. AHANDFULOFSUMMERS (Best priced 25/1 BOG Bet 365) is over priced and a small cover bet on the mount of William Buick may be a good idea.
2:45pm – Tote+ At tote.uk Handicap – 5F 15Y
A race that is full of pace with ARMY OF INDIA, FIRST COMPANY, SHOWALONG and HARMONY LIL all liking to get on with things. This represents a big drop in class for FIRST COMPANY who proves he will act on ground with some cut when he ran a great race to finish 3rd at 250/1 in a listed race at Ayr in September of last year. Drawn in stall 2 he is well positioned to attack and could prove very hard to peg back if he gets away from this field. As we have already pointed out though, there is no shortage of pace in here and there is a chance that he could become involved in a burn up upfront which will soften him and the other front runners up for a closer late on. That closer could be ARMY OF INDIA for Franny Norton and Mark Johnston. Breeding suggests ARMY OF INDIA will show his best form on a sounder surface, but having won over 6F on the all-weather he is sure to be staying on in the closing stages and could be the one to pick up the pieces should the pace collapse late on. Drawn in stall 6 Franny Norton will have an interesting decision to make from the stalls and that could prove crucial in his mount’s chances. With the likely strong pace it may pay to be handy but just off the pace and if ARMY OF INDIA can get a good position to sit 3rd or 4th and track the pace, he could pounce late on.
FIRST COMPANY (Best priced 11/1 BOG Bet365) looks to have a good chance on his form from last year and should 8 runners go to post he looks a cracking each way bet at the current prices. ARMY OF INDIA (Best priced 6/1 Ladbrokes) will be doing his best work at the finish and looks sure to be suited by how the race looks set to be run. They would be our two against the field in what looks sure to be a typically fast and ferocious Chester 5F Handicap.
3:15pm – Chester Vase Stakes – 1M 4F 63Y
Two disappointing late withdrawals as the warm favourite SIR LAMORAK and the outsider of the field SAN MARTINO, both trained by Aidan O’Brien have been withdrawn. FANCY MAN won on his debut at Haydock on soft ground and then later bolted up back at Haydock in the Ascendant Stakes, this time on soft/heavy ground. He beat Alenquer that day by over 3 lengths, and that rival could hardly have advertised the form any better than when he won the Bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown last month. Back in 4th when FANCY MAN won the Ascendant Stakes was River Alwen, who was last seen winning a Newmarket handicap off a mark of 96 on Sunday. So the form of his wins could not have worked out much better. He can be forgiven his reappearance run at Newmarket as the ground would have been much quicker than ideal, and back on a softer surface today we feel he has enough in his armoury to surprise the Godolphin pair at the top of the market.
FANCY MAN (Best priced 6/1 with Betvictor) is our selection in this race
3:45pm – Tote+ Pays You More At Tote.co.uk Handicap – 6F 17Y
UNCLE JUMBO was unlucky at Pontefract last time, finding himself short of room at a crucial stage before staying on once he got out in the open. He has been well supported since the markets opened and looks sure to play a part in proceedings. Stall 10 is hardly ideal for SELECTED but he did go close over course and distance off a pound higher mark last season so cant be discounted. His last start would have put him right for this and stepping back up to 6F could bring about more improvement. PAWS FOR THOUGHT is the only course winner in the field and likes to go from the front, so he cant be discounted for Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote who know what it takes to win here.
UNCLE JUMBO (Best priced 9/4 BOG Bet365) looks to be the likeliest winner, though the price has taken a battering since markets first opened and many punters may feel like they have missed the boat on this one. SELECTED (Best priced 11/1 BOG Bet365) will need a good ride from Jack Mitchell if he is to get the job done from stall 10, but he looks to have been primed for this and from a pound below the mark where he finished 2nd over course and distance, he looks to have a great each way chance.