Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com with the best bets from the opening day of the Chester May meeting
The first day of Chester’s three-day May Meeting the highlight of the racing year at the Roodeye. The Cheshire Oaks is the first classic trial on the card and was won by non-other than John Gosden’s brilliant subsequent Oaks/King George/Arc winner Enable 12 months ago.
Aidan O’Brien saddled the runner up 12 months ago and it is worth noting that Ballydoyle have won this corresponding event five times in the last decade. O’Brien saddles three this afternoon and I think he can get the better of Gosden this year given I just favour his twice-raced maiden Magic Wand (2.25) to the Newmarket handler’s Award Winning who looked to be crying out for a step up to 12f when scoring at Wetherby (heavy ground) last time.
The selection (4/1 at BetVictor) has only raced on soft or heavy ground and I thought there was plenty of promise from her reappearance when third at Leopardstown. The filly is a sister to Irish Oaks winner Chicquita and gets a narrow vote in a race, which is unlikely to throw up another Enable.
The Chester Vase has been something of a benefit for O’Brien in recent years winning the last five renewals of this colts’ classic trial. On each occasion, the winner was market leader and Hunting Horn (3.35) is taken to reverse recent Sandown form with Godolphin’s Ispolini who finished over a length in front of the selection at the Esher track.
Hunting Horn (7/2 with BetVictor) was given plenty to do by Ryan Moore at Sandown over 10f and the way he finished his race suggested he would be a different proposition over an additional quarter of a mile.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Ispolini should stay the additional distance, but a bigger danger might be Young Rascal who was the five-length winner of a Newbury maiden for William Haggas in the manner of a progressive animal.
I would be very confident of a big run from No I’m Easy (4.35) were it not for his moderate draw in stall seven in the 3-y-old six-furlong sprint but the hope is that Richard Kingscote can get the selection competitive from the gates.
The horse was considered good enough to contest the Mill Reef Stakes on his last juvenile start and he has showed plenty of pace from the gates in all three starts. Whatever the outcome this afternoon he might be one to keep on the right side of this term. He is 11/2 at BetVictor and is an each way recommendation.
Double W’s (4.15) travelled well for a long way at Ayr last time but emptied out under his optimum conditions. The handicapper has dropped the selection 4lbs for that effort and with the Ruth Jefferson yard having a good winner at Ayr on Monday I hope this lovely looking chestnut can score from a 6lbs lower mark than when winning the Red Rum at Aintree last April.
At Newton Abbot, first time out might be the time to catch Overland Flyer who looked a potential star when scoring at Taunton over hurdles before disappointing at Musselburgh.
He is not one to have too much faith in, however, and I just prefer the chances of stablemate The Eaglehaslanded (2.45) who is second choice on jockey bookings but was a slightly superior hurdler to the likely favourite and might stay this three-and-a-quarter mile trip better than Harry Cobden’s mount.
Alcala (3.55) ran much better than his finishing position would suggest at Sandown last time and is taken to give weight to his seven rivals in the feature race – as long as the ground is no worse than good – despite the impost of 11st 12lbs.
At Wolverhampton this evening, I hope to see Lady Persephone (6.55) reverse recent C&D form with Sunshineandbubbles on 7lbs better terms if you take Rossa Ryan’s claim in time.
Gosden looks to have found an ideal opportunity for Verandah (7.25) who has been off the track since finishing fifth in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood back in August. The filly has had a wind operation in the interim period but still holds an enjoyment in the Gp 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.
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