The first of the feature races on Day Two of Chester’s May meeting is the listed Dee Stakes and I am hopeful of a big run from the locally trained Finniston Farm although his stamina is not guaranteed and he has a modest draw to overcome from stall seven of eight.
Ryan Moore rides Rostropovich and this Frankel colt finished third in the Gp 1 National Stakes at the Curragh as a two-year-old. Today’s better ground (good to soft at time of writing) should suit although he is another who is not guaranteed to get this 10f trip on breeding – given he is the half-brother to a number of winners between six furlongs and a mile.
I just favour My Lord And Master (2.25) of William Haggas. The selection (11/4 at BetVictor) finished a head second to Gosden’s progressive colt Crossed Baton in a listed contest at Epsom last time over today’s trip when he gave every indication he would improve for a step up to a mile-and-a-half. His draw in stall five is less than ideal and I hope jockey Danny Tudhope rides his mount forward given I am convinced he will get further than todays extended ten furlongs.
In the mile handicap, Porth Swtan (3.00) finally got his head in front in a Newmarket maiden last time and he is taken to reward each way support from a good draw in stall four.
Paul Hanagan keeps the ride for Charlie Hills whose father saddled the winner of the corresponding race ten years ago. The biggest priced winner during that time is 10/1 and it is a race that invariably is won by a progressive sort from one of the leading stables.
The Group 3 Ormonde Stakes is the feature race and C&D winner Muntahaa has been gelded since his last start and a market move would be worth noting. Granted good or faster ground Idaho who has been campaigned exclusively in Group 1 company since landing the Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) over 12f back in June will be very hard to beat, but rain is forecast for the opening day of the meeting.
Idaho is 5/4 at BetVictor and at the prices, I just favour Duretto (3.35) with the caveat that the ground is on the soft side of good come post time. Andrew Balding’s six-year-old finished third in this corresponding race 12 months ago before winning a listed event here in September. At 5/1 with BetVictor Duretto gets the vote.
The juveniles with experience and good course form have done well with the draw in the 2-y-old maiden and Ynys Mon (4.05) can make it third time lucky for Charlie Hills. The selection improved on his first start at Bath to finish second at Newmarket at the Craven meeting to a very highly-regarded juvenile from the Tom Dascombe yard.
The 12f handicap for the classic generation is a hot race and I am convinced a number of future winners will come out of this eight-runner field. Aidan O’Brien brings across Christopher Robin who has floundered on soft ground since making a highly promising debut when second to stablemate Nelson on good ground on debut.
My two against the field are Knightly Spirit and Ghostwatch (4.35) with marginal preference for the Godolphin runner who did a lot wrong but came home in front at Wolverhampton last time. The selection cost over 2 million guineas as a yearling and still holds a Derby entry – stamina looked his forte at Dunstall Park and I hope William Buick makes plenty of use of his mount from a decent draw in four.
In the finale, Never Surrender (5.05) gets an each way vote for Charlie Hills. The selection won the 10f 3-y-old maiden at this meeting 12 months ago and bounced back to form – having been gelded over the winter – when fourth at Newbury last month.
There is a good card at Tipperary this evening and I am looking forward to the chase debut of Stoneford (7.00) for Noel Meade. The selection created a very favourable impression when scoring at Cork over timber last month and I hope there is enough juice in the ground for this lightly-raced seven-year-old who promises to make up into another decent staying chaser for Gigginstown.
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