Chester’s May meeting gets underway today and the feature, the StanJames.com Chester Cup, looks as competitive as ever.
The concluding Merseyrail Day Saver Ticket Handicap looks an equally tricky puzzle to solve and a race that probably includes several smart three-year-olds.
Dr Marwan Koukash, who loves a winner on the Roodee, runs two (Montaser and Gabrial The Great), whilst Group 2 entry Rosslyn Castle appeals very much as the type to develop beyond handicap company.
He took a bit of time to get the job done at Windsor, however, and he has also been handed a tough draw in stall 12. The same can’t be said of Third Half (4:45) who will break from stall 1 and represents last year’s winning connections.
Given that Michael Owen is another owner who loves to have a winner here, it is probably safe to assume that this has been the plan for some time with the Wolverhampton winner, who has a similar profile to that of Brown Panther, who had also won over 7f on the all-weather at two.
The son of Haafhd should appreciate the step up in trip and, given the way he travelled when winning last November, he should have plenty more to offer. The third home, Fourth Of June, has since won a Yarmouth handicap off 77 so the selection looks fairly treated on the same mark here.
Available at 6/1 with Hills overnight, he is worth backing each-way in what looks a competitive affair. Incidentally, Rosslyn Castle was trading at 15/2 with Betfred overnight and I suspect that price is a bit of an over-reaction to the draw. It wouldn’t be at all a surprise to see him involved for Roger Charlton.
Elsewhere, it’s great to see Arvika Ligeonniere back in action in the Punchestown For Events Beginners Chase this evening, a race won by Sizing Europe back in 2009. Willie Mullins’s seven-year-old looked a high-class chasing prospect over hurdles a couple of seasons back and has a 747-day lay-off to contend with tonight.
The opening novice hurdle at Ffos Las is also an interesting contest, with the 120-rated High Storm setting the standard judged on his second to Darlan at Cheltenham in December.
Another to note is Irish bumper winner In The Binyanis who makes his hurdling debut for Jonjo O’Neill, but a chance is taken on Awaywiththegreys (5:30) who is another worth supporting each-way with only nine horses going to post.
Peter Bowen has long held his Worcester bumper winner in high-regard and he made his hurdling debut in a warm contest at Aintree at October. The selection blew his chance that day with a poor round of jumping, but he was heavily backed to beat some useful rivals and he may arrive here a forgotten horse.
Given the regard in which he is held, an early price should be taken, as there is every chance connections will be out to reclaim Aintree losses if he’s ready after 200 days on the sidelines.
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Last Year’s Tips Included 40 Leading Prospects: £499.80 profit to a level £10!
- AL FEROF won Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 10-1
- BENSALEM won Stewart Family Handicap 5-1
- BOBS WORTH won A Bartlett 15-8, 4/4 for year
- CAPTAIN CHRIS won Arkle Trophy 6-1
- FIRST LIEUTENANT won Neptune Investment 7-1
- (plus Grade 1 in Ireland 16-1)
- JAMES DE VASSY won Lanzarote Hurdle 8-1
- LONG RUN won King George 9-2, Gold Cup 7-2
- OSCAR WHISKY won Aintree Hurdle 6-1
- Peddlers Cross (Fighting Fifth Hurdle)
- Medermit (Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase)
- FINIAN’S RAINBOW (Maghull Novices’ Chase)
- WISHFULL THINKING (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)