The final day of the May Meeting at Chester throws up some more decent action with clues towards The Derby and Royal Ascot likely to come out of what is a decent looking card at the picturesque Cheshire track.
After a week of hitting the crossbar we are looking for some elusive winners ahead of turning our attention to the big race in America on Saturday. After scouring the card for Friday’s action we’ve come up with two bets.
The opener on the final day of the 3 day Boodles meeting is a competitive looking 7 furlong handicap for those rated up to 105. 5 of the 11 strong field won last time out and consequently all have to defy a higher mark today including the likely favourite, Boardman. He has gone up 2lbs for his win last time out but that was on quite firmish ground, although it’s worth noting he did over course & distance 12 months ago on similar going to what he’ll face today. He’s drawn a little wider than ideal in 8 but holds decent enough claims. Boosala is still lightly raced for a 5 year old & looked to be a gelding on the up when comfortably landing a similar handicap to this in November but he’s gone up 7lbs since & having been turned over off a lower mark 2 starts ago & then disappointing upped to Listed company last time, he has something to prove. Revich likes the track and has the inside draw but, whilst he’s one of the more promising apprentices, I’m not keen on having the inexperienced Harry Davies on board around these tight turns. Seasett, Repertoire & Red Mirage all arrive here having won last time out so hold claims but none with form at the track so I’ll happily pass over the 3 of them.
Despite making his seasonal reappearance, I cannot get away from Fools Rush In. He’s changed yards recently & begins his 4 year old campaign on a workable mark despite having won 4 times last season including 2 at this track. Those wins were off 86 and 93, and he has a mark of 95 today but the way he’s continued to improve suggests he should be up to defying this mark. In fact, he was a head 2nd off this mark 2 starts ago at Musselburgh which is a good sign. It may be his first start in almost 200 days but it’s worth noting he defied a similar absence last season when winning on reappearance at odds of 8/1. His form last term with cut in the ground reads 1128 so anything on the easy side won’t cause him any problems but he is versatile having also won on good to firm. He made all for 3 of his wins last year but interestingly came from out the back to win his recent start at this track over course & distance. That day, he had two of today’s more fancied rivals in behind & has the beating of them on that form although he did receive a 3 year old allowance that day. Another horse in behind there was Ffion who won on Day 1 of this meeting too so the form has a very solid look to it. Provided he turns up fit and ready, he’ll be hard to keep out of the frame especially as he has a decent draw in stall 4.
Back Fools Rush In (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 8.50 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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With 3 non runners, we now have 14 going to post & the smallest field this century for the highlight of the week, the Chester Cup, over the marathon trip of two & a quarter miles. Last year’s winner Falcon Eight is bidding to land the prize for the 2nd year for the same combo of Dermot Weld & Frankie Dettori but has a monster rating of 109 which is 5lbs higher than 12 months ago. He’s undoubtedly the most classy horse in the race but it may pay to look elsewhere. The favourite is the 4 year old Solent Gateway who has a record here of 39221 but this is by far his toughest assignment & personally I have doubts over his stamina in what is likely to be run at a decent clip. Of the market leaders, I much prefer the chances of Coltrane who has been very lightly raced since finishing 9th in the 2019 Cesarewitch and looks to have been aimed at the race. Cleveland is the Ballydoyle runner & whilst he could be anything, his inexperience & lack of proven stamina is offputting whilst Arcadian Sunrise & Rajinsky both hold solid chances but I have some minor concerns over the jockey bookings. It isn’t normally a race that apprentices excel in which tempers any Rajinsky enthusiasm, whilst Spencer’s exaggerated hold up tactics are much better suited away from Chester. I may live to regret those decisions this afternoon but that’s the chance you take!
At the prices, I like last year’s runner up The Grand Visir who is 2lbs lower than when finishing behind Falcon Eight. Jim Crowley has ridden the winner of this race twice in 12 years & the horse himself is no stranger to landing a big prize, having won the 2019 Ascot Stakes over a marathon trip of two and a half miles. Whilst he has a draw of 14, he’s actually only 12 wide because of the non runners & that’s only 1 stall wider than 12 months ago so it’s not as offputting as it may first appear. After his run in this last year, he ran in some hot races, finishing behind the likes of Stratum, Stradivarius, Spanish Mission and Nayef Road in pattern company. Back in handicap company & with stamina assured, he’s sure to go well & worth noting that his record in turf handicaps over 2 miles or further reads 117420, with the 2 disappointments both coming off career high handicap marks. Admittedly, he’s now a 8 year old but he still retains plenty of ability & ran ok on reappearance when last of 6 on the all weather, a surface that doesn’t suit. That will have put him spot on for this & he looks to be a good each way with the extra places on offer.
Back The Grand Visir (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 17.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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