Tag Archives: Chester Cup

Thursday Selections: May, 10th 2018


That looked good… at least for the wallet: Magic Wand (7/2) thundering down to landing the Cheshire Oaks yesterday. A general 14/1 chance for the Oaks, it remains to be seen how much that form is worth as it surely didn’t look a strong renewal. Ispolini in contrast was a real letdown in the Chester Vase.


4.35 Chester: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 4f

You don’t see that often an Aiden O’Brien trained individual running in a British Handicap, and those that do generally fail to fire. So, you got to be wary of this Christopher Robin today.

On the other hand, this son of Camelot showed promise as a juvenile and despite a disappointing reappearance at Leopardstown recently remains to have some very fancy entries for later the season.

Christopher Robin could also be excused for his 6½ lengths beaten fifth of fifth finish in heavy conditions over 10f in a race that was run at a start stop gallop. If the going was a concern, then the fact he was trailing the field and in a bad spot when the field turned for home is in combination a fair excuse.

Nevertheless, this lad is unlikely to turn into a Group performer. But of a handicap mark off 81 he looks well in given improvement is likely to come for the better ground and step up in trip. This race isn’t that deep and at given odds I feel Christopher Robin is overpriced, actually.

10pts win – Christopher Robin @ 5/1 Matchbook

Empress Ali Will Relish Chester Conditions


That was some exciting start to Chester yesterday! We saw exciting finishes and potentially even the Epsom Oaks winner… the Chester Cup though didn’t went the same way as last year. It was a strong staying performance from improving Trip To Paris who landed Ed Dunlop the big race. Talks about a stint at the Melbourne Cup are obviously on the cards now for this exciting stayer.

In the very same race, my selection John Reel ran an almighty race, didn’t he? Unfortunately the tank was empty 200y too early and he faded from first into fifth in the end. Nonetheless great ride by Kirby, gave the horse every chance and I couldn’t be happier with it, despite the e/w bet not quite getting in.

The Cheshire Oaks went to Aiden O’Brien once again. Diamondsandrubies was a brilliant winner. My selection Entertainment ran a really good race there as the runner-up. Blithe Spirit was the huge disappointment. No excuses for her. I still think she was the best handicapped in the race but she lost it right at the start.


2.10 Chester: Handicap (Class 2, 10f)

With the weather playing havoc this seems to be a widen open race. Last years winner Tres Coronas must clearly enter the calculations despite a 4lb higher mark today. He’ll handle the ground and loves it here. You surely will need to get the trip and like it soft, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Brazilian import Energia Fox going close today too. On the other hand she looks not particularly well handicapped, that’s why I won’t back her despite very generous odds on offer.

The favourite Collaboration has no issues with rain softened ground either, but I can’t have him here after a 14lb hike in the mark for an – albeit impressive – recent success at Epsom. This is much more demanding today, and despite his progressive profile I just struggle to see any value in odds of 9/4.

Last years runner-up Sennockian Star gives it another go here as well. He looks a mad price at 16/1 in my eyes. Obviously he would have to improve dramatically from what he has shown so far this season. On turf he was well beaten in his last couple of starts and maybe he’s just lost it.

But a return to this track may well rejuvenate him. There is also the small matter of his dramatically low looking handicap mark. He finished runner-up here off 101 last May, won at Glorious Goodwood of the same mark subsequently but is now down to 95! He handles soft ground as well and has a good draw today. At big odds I’m rather on than against him.

Sennockian Star @ 16/1 Paddy Power – 5pts win


5.25 Chester: Handicap (Class 3; 10f)

Fahey’s Modernism seems to be on a good mark judged on his All-Weather form but only one win on turf puts me off, as well as his non-existent record with cut in the ground. The Character has won a CD maiden last year on good to soft and could be well treated off his current mark if he would find back to that sort of form. Ardmay has a CD success in similar conditions to his name and judged on his very best he may be still capable of better off his current mark.

The one I feel is really overpriced though is the filly Empress Ali. It is a slight risk to trust her on her seasonal reappearance and there is the question if she has trained on from three to four, but that is well reflected in the price, given her progressive profile last year, her positive course record, preference for cut in the ground and possible tactical advantage today. She won a CD Handicap of a mark of 82 following up on some fine performances throughout the summer. Probably a bit over the boil in her final start, still she wasn’t disgraced in a hot race at York.

Currently rated 86, there is fair chance that she has still more to offer, particularly with conditions likely to play to her strengths. She has good draw today which will ensure that she can be ridden handily, or possible even try to make all. She looks versatile in that regard but surly will be in a good tactical position today. All the rain in recent 24h has clearly enhanced her chances too. At 7/1 she looks overpriced in this field.

Empress Ali @ 7/1 William Hill – 5pts win

Preview: Chester Cup


3.10 Chester: Chester Cup (Handicap, Class 2, 2m 2f 147y)

Traditionally those drawn in single figures have an advantage in this race. So segmenting the field in that very simple way should be interesting. That says I fail to warm up with any of the runners with this little bonus to their name. instead the Chester Cup really looks like a wide open renewal.Rain is arriving and that adds a bit of extra spices – it should ensure that this is going to be a true test of stamina and determination.

There is no doubt that the favourite Quick Jack has excellent credentials to land this race. But in the context of the huge field and many other very good rivals in the line-up, he looks a rather short price at 9/2. Last years winner Suegioo has a very wide draw to overcome and is also on a 9lb higher handicap mark these days. It’s a difficult task. Koukash’s best hope seems to be bottom weight Gabrial’s King. He’s on a very good mark but any more rain would see his chances going down the drain.

Last years rather unlucky runner-up Angel Gabrial is a whopping 15lb higher in his handicap mark than at this stage last season. He probably hang the race away last year but made subsequently amends to land another big Handicap. A good draw is a big help here for him, though the rain isn’t. Recent Ripon winner Trip To Paris is on a hat-trick and is clearly an interesting horse. He could improve again, but has to overcome a double figure draw and will need all the in-running luck in the world because of his hold-up tactics.

Dermot Weld’s sending over lightly raced Zafayan. Hurdles didn’t quite work out for him over the winter, so he’s back on the flat and repapered with a commanding success at Leopardstown. Much more is required here. He may improve, but hard to fancy for seemingly skinny odds. Mubaraza finished fourth in this last season. He’s on the same mark and there is no reason why he shouldn’t run a fair race once again. That may not be good enough to win, though.

Expect an aggressive front-running ride from Buthelezi. He’s back in form after a recent start-to-post win at Musselburgh. Up six pounds for it – he may be found out for class. Highly progressive All-Weather scorer Mymatechris is an intriguing horse. He has a good draw, but usually travels well off the pace. I don’t like that at Chester. Softish ground is an unkown factor.

Godolphin’s Famous Kid won a stayers race at Meydan earlier this year. He is still lightly raced and might be well able to cope with the new trip. He has not the best of draws and his habit of slow starts is a worry. He won a maiden on soft ground, though. Shu Lewis ran a fair race in defeat when second behind Cheltenham Festival winner Windsor Park. A career best is required from this nine year old. Ground, trip and draw work well in his favour. So he could run a big race.

Despite a rather negative draw (15) John Reel makes appeal. The arriving rain is definitely in his favour and his decent gate speed should give him a chance to overcome the draw. He has to, though, as he likes to be up with the pace. If he can do so and doesn’t burn too much energy in the early stages of the race then he clearly enters the calculations big time in my mind. He should stay the trip, as he showed his best performances over stayer trips and won an AW Handicap over 2m ½f earlier this year.

He hasn’t won in his last four starts but was never beaten further than 1¾ lengths and hit the post a couple of times for what he went up in the ratings. I really liked his big performance in the All-Weather Championships Marathon where he made a bit too much in the first half of the race but lead well into the final furlong. He got a bit tired in the end and finished only in fourth. Nonetheless it rates a big performance.

He will have to improve again to be really competitive in this top class Chester Cup field but he’s been progressive since he came back from a year long break it is far from impossible that there is more to come from him, having the switch to turf in mind, as well as conditions very  likely to suit,.

John Reel looks a cracking price at 33/1 in my mind. Too big to ignore. He’s definitely a better chance in my book. The start will be crucial though. He can’t afford to blow it. He will need to overcome the poor draw quickly. Kirby in the saddle should have enough experience to get this job done.

John Reel @ 33/1 Stan James – 2.5pts e/w