Thursday’s card at Wincanton has been abandoned because of the prevailing firm ground in the West Country but no problems forecast at Chester who stage their big three-day meeting of the year this week with the Chester Cup Wednesday’s highlight.
Blakeney Point has crept into the race at the foot of the weights has been given stall one and at 8/1 with BetVictor he is my each way selection given he is a progressive stayer who has won three of his last four including over two miles on the Roodeye back in September.
More of Chester later in the week but they go at Ayr today and Poet’s Reward will be fancied to go one better than when runner up at Newcastle over the minimum trip to a half-sister of Saturday’s impressive Palace House Stakes winner Marsha last month. That looks the best form in the book but he has yet to race on turf and he is not guaranteed to appreciate this sixth furlong.
Preference is for Dalton (2.00) who is the half-brother to ten winners and has been well supported but not had much luck in both juvenile starts. The colt has not seen the track since June and the market should give us valuable clues as to how he has been training but he remains a three-year-old of some potential.
In the 10f maiden I can pass on a good word for Leven (2.30) who looks sure to appreciate today’s step up in trip for Irish handler Pat Shanahan. The selection shaped with promise on his debut over a mile at Dundalk last month and he is certainly bred to be a useful sort. Alan Swinbank’s once-raced Sketch Book Venue and Fiendish look fair sorts but the trainer had a nice winner at Hamilton on Sunday and is taken to have another Scottish success.
Shanahan also saddles Warp Factor in the 10f handicap and he must go close but the vote goes to Eez Eh (3.00) one of two in the field for Keith Dalgleish. The recommendation had a pipe-opener at Windsor last month, remains lightly-raced (nine career starts), and open to further improvement this term.
They race at Leicester this evening and Kachess (6.30) can give the Tom Dascombe yard a welcome winner ahead of the biggest meeting of the year (Chester) for the yard. The selection was highly tried after her Goodwood win on debut but she showed she had trained on when a running on third at Redcar from today’s mark last month – the return to six furlongs should suit.
The feature race at Fakenham is the Norfolk National and Themanfrom Minella will have his supporters after his recent Exeter run but has never been the most consistent animal in training and is readily overlooked. The vote goes to course specialist Queen Spud (3.40) who has won all four starts around these tight turns and can run from the same mark as when successful here back in November. She has to prove she stays today’s 3m 5f trip but you can say much the same about many of today’s field.
Monsieur Gibraltar (4.40) had his limitations exposed when well beaten at Punchestown last month but he had been in cracking form prior to that and he is taken to give weight to his seven rivals in the Hunter Chase.
There is a good card at Exeter and Ink Master (7.15) should have the race run to suit in the 2m 4f handicap chase and I thought he was a good winner at Chepstow last time from a mark only 4lbs lower than today. Richard Johnson takes over in the saddle for Philip Hobbs in what is a very good race for the time of year.
My Story (8.15) was too free to do himself justice when fourth on his Bumper debut at Taunton back in February but Noel Fehily takes over in the saddle this afternoon. The selection had previously won a good ground point-to-point in his native Ireland and is certainly bred for the job. He was well backed at Taunton and is will be interesting to see if the market speaks in his favour this evening.
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