Paul Ferguson has one selection for us on Wednesday; Countrywide Flame in the Chester 2.45. Compare odds and bet.
Though the ground is likely to be faster than ideal Countrywide Flame (2:45) has plenty in his favour and is very much the one to beat in this afternoon’s StanJames.com Chester Cup.
The Champion Hurdle third was last seen on the level finishing runner-up in the Cesarewitch (off 4lb lower) having earlier scored impressively here off 84 from the useful Ardlui.
John Quinn’s stable-star has clearly improved since over hurdles and, after being handed a kind draw in stall 4, connections must be very hopeful of a bold showing. Available at 4/1 with Ladbrokes last night, the sponsors promise to be top price from 9am this morning and also offering 5 places.
Looking for dangers, the one that stood out prior to the draw was Olympiad and, as he’s been pushed out to 12/1, he looks the each-way value of the day despite the fact he will have to overcome a wide draw in 17.
Dermot Weld’s lightly-raced stayer looked one to follow when winning at York last summer and, though he bombed out in the Cesarewitch on his only outing since, his trainer expects him to improve significantly this season.
An Ascot Gold Cup entry suggests he is well regarded by his shrewd connections and he looks worth a ‘saver’ against the favourite. It is worth noting that there have been several horses placed from double-figure stalls in recent seasons, including Gulf Of Naples (3rd from 19) last year, and the son of Galileo will relish the quick ground.
Elsewhere on the card, Russian Realm is one to note in the 1m2f maiden after an eye-catching debut at Sandown last year. That race hasn’t worked out, however, so he is best watched in what looks a potentially warm event.
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)