A five furlong dash opens proceedings from the second day of the Chester May meeting.
Ten runners go to post here, and the first thing that’s arguably the most important thing to consider here is the draw.
Quite simply if you miss the break here over the minimum your chance can be gone within strides.
There will be surge of speed on with a wave of front runners, and another wave sat behind hoping to pick off the pace setters late on.
Two of those closers that have a chance are Mondammej who is an improving young sprinter, who if he gets the gaps might go close. Venturous is older but has a similar run style, he will be staying on late.
I’m going to concentrate on the two speed merchants here though, who have both been handed ideal post positions.
Jabbarockie drawn one, was a last time out winner, he will be dangerous if he gets to the front. He had a smooth run at Musselburgh and just hung on at the line, but I’m going to side with Copper Knight drawn three.
He is a course and distance winner, and although he will have competition for the lead, he is far too well handicapped to overlook. Any further easing of the ground will be to his benefit.
COPPER KNIGHT (WIN)
Just the 7 runners go for this Class 1 Listed race. The favourite Yibir goes with the cheekpieces on for the first time after coming 3rd at Sandown in a classic trial on good ground. Will have come on for that run and can see why he is favourite.
A P O Brien Ontario looks a big danger and the trainer tends to have a good record here in these middle-distance classic trials. has never gone this distance before so will be interesting to see if he gets the trip.
My selection I just think for a bit of each way value is FOXES TALES. Last time out he won a Newbury maiden finishing really strong at the end to steal the race. Surely this longer trip will suit and at roughly 7/1 i just feel holds a bit of each way value. Andrew Balding horses seem to love Chester and he has a good record round here over the years.
Just purely on value i think this horse is worth having a go on compared to the front 2 in the market
FOXES TALES (E/W)
Aquaman got off the mark at the fourth time of asking on his seasonal return and Roger Varian’s charge looks to make it two in a row. The form of his second at Yarmouth also looks solid with a handful of subsequent winners coming out of the race. The form book points towards another solid run and I can’t see past another victory for Andrea Atzeni’s mount.
The lightly raced Buxted Too hails from a yard who have been in solid form and looks best of the rest and is the likeliest to chase home our selection.
Japan arrives here as the top-rated horse in the field however hasn't seen the winners enclosure since August 2019, steps up in trip for this afternoons' feature race and usually needs his first run of the season to really find top gear so I am happy to take him on despite this being a big drop in class.
Trueshan has an excellent strike rate and is proven on softer ground over this trip and further however improved for his first run of last season and carries a 5lbs penalty for winning the Long Distance Cup when last seen so is another who I feel could prove vulnerable.
Morando beat St Leger winner Kew Gardens by eight lengths in this race in 2019 and overall has posted two wins and a second from three runs on the Roodee. The three-time Group 3 winner is at home in the forecast conditions, has won more than once on first run of the season and arrives here with both trainer and jockey in excellent form so looks to have a great chance of retaining his crown.
Singapore Saga served notice two starts back at Exeter and duly delivered the goods, when scoring in emphatic style at the same venue the time after. Still unexposed and potentially way above her new mark (Penalised 9lbs today) she must rate very highly and looks a very worthy favourite. Potential negatives with the likely market leader are that perhaps she took enough out of herself the last day, she hung too, but this left handed track ought to suit her and a good deal of respect is afforded.
Aye Aye Charlie probably doesn't put it all in and has a bitterly disappointing record of just 1-24. Sent back hurdling today after almost two years over fences doesn't really inspire much confidence although he has countless pieces of form which suggests he really ought to go close and this does represent a drop in class.
Viking Ruby scored at Newcastle in November and created a favourable impression in doing so, she has much more on her plate today although she could well take it in her stride and her yard have been amongst the winners. The Composeur and The Distant Lady looks others worth considering though a chance will be taken on the very frustrating, Aye Aye Charlier, in the hope that he can at least run into a place, in what looks a fairly competitive race on paper.
AYE AYE CHARLIE (E/W)
With fourteen runners set to go to post I’m going to plump for two selections in this Class 2 handicap over 1m2f.
The James Doyle ridden Snow Ocean is unbeaten in two previous outings here at Chester. Doyle has a solid record with trainer David Evans and despite the less than advantageous draw in stall 13 there’s every chance he can keep his unbeaten course record intact.
Fellow course and distance winner Baryshnikov is the current market leader and deserves his spot at the head of the betting. Likely to be in the mix come the finish line but others make more appeal especially at the prices.
My second of two selections hails from the in-form yard of Ian Williams Lucky’s Dream has been ultra consistent on the all-weather and returns to turf flat action. He put in a solid performance when winning a National Hunt Flat race at Linfield back in January and at double figure odds may be worth a small stakes each way punt.
SNOW OCEAN (E/W)
LUCKY’S DREAM (E/W)