Thursday 6.10pm Chester looks wonderful but too many ‘soft’ winners for my liking. Poor afternoon in the office but tomorrow is another day. Selections at Chester but the night cards tomorrow at Ascot, Nottingham and Ripon are worth a look and Taurean Star is Saturdays big hope in the Victoria Cup at Ascot 4.00pm.
Chester Going: With only 1mm of rain now forecast overnight, Chester are set to put 2mm of water on the track tonight to maintain ground conditions
Fridays Lucky 15
Chester 2.25 MIRAGE DANCER 9/2 PP + BetFred 4/1 general
Chester 3.00 PARTITIA 6/1 general
Chester 4.35 CANNY KOOL 8/1 Coral+Ladbrokes
Chester 5.05 CROQUEMBOUCHE 15/2 general
and here’s why
Chester 2.25 MIRAGE DANCER He is right near the top of my Derby shortlist and I’m quite willing to take on an O’Brien hotpot. Mirage Dancer was mighty impressive on his only run as a 2yo when at Doncaster he travelled like a dream and the further he went the better he looked. Indeed when Ryan Moore got off he told Lord Grimthorpe this was the best son of Frankel he had sat on. High praise indeed. I’m quite happy with Oisin Murphy taking the ride, this could be his big breakthrough season. In Cliffs of Moher he has a more than worthwhile opponent, with Ryan Moore riding, for whom 10F is probably his best trip. Exciting stuff.
Chester 3.00 PARTITIA I’m sticking with the Juddmonte/Stoute combination. Just have to back this young lady although I’d be happier on an orthodox course but she’s quick! She won well round here last season when showing a willing attitude winning over 6F with a hold up ride. Andrea Atzeni will obviously need to have his wits about him from stall 6 because last time out on that awkward 5F course at Sandown she got no run at all for Ryan Moore. Think she’s some value.
Chester 4.35 CANNY KOOL Let’s keep this simple. A quick breaker in Stall 1, trained by the canny Brian Ellison and ridden by a man with a point to prove Dougie Costello. Absence a concern and will come on for the run. Well in for this Conditions event according to the handicapper.
Chester 5.05 CROQUEMBOUCHE Has a nasty habit of finishing second but loads in his favour here. Runs from the front, drawn stall 4, down in grade, goes on firm ground and his recent second to Frontiersman is an outstanding piece of form.
Thursdays Lucky 15
Chester 1.50 GABRIALS KING 6th 20/1 (16/1 PP 14/1 Ladbrokes 12/1 general)
For a horse that needed a fast pace to bring his stamina into play the race panned out badly. Ran OK for a 20/1 shot.
Chester 3.00 AREEN HEART 3rd 8/1 5/1 PP 9/2 BetFred 7/2 general
Drifting like a barge. 5/1 to 8/1. Taken to post early, bundle of energy. Ran OK, stayed on well, just didn’t get the breaks.
Chester 3.35 THE ANVIL 3rd 7/1 (15/2 PP 7/1 Coral+Ladbrokes)
Every chance, pushed early, Ryan Moore’s selected took time to warm up but quickened late. The Anvil stayed on again.
Chester 5.05 BANISH 5th 10/3 (3/1 Coral 11/4 general)
Friendless in the ring. Never went a yard. Very wary of the Hugo Palmer runners currently.
BHA Stewards reports yesterday
Tony Hamilton, the rider of REQUINTO DAWN (IRE), which started favourite and finished unplaced, reported that the colt boiled over in the preliminaries.
Just found this on line.
Sure I’ve read the important bits of this somewhere before!!
VICTORIA CUP PREVIEW: STARS HAVE ALIGNED JUST IN TIME FOR TAUREAN
By Andrew Asquith of Timeform — published 11th May 2017
This weekend’s meeting at Ascot represents the last time for racegoers to visit the Berkshire track before the Royal Meeting starts in June, and the notoriously competitive Victoria Cup is the feature on Saturday’s card. Open to horses aged four and over, there are 27 runners set to go to post for this year’s renewal, and over the past 10 years, it has been horses at the younger end of the age spectrum who have dominated, with eight of the last 10 winners aged four or five.
Current favourite for the race Fastnet Tempest fits the bill of previous winners, being a relatively lightly-raced four-year-old, who has the ability to prove better than his current mark. William Haggas’ gelding no doubt has the talent to become a fixture in these races if putting his mind to it, but he let himself down in the Spring Cup at Newbury on return – and not for the first time – after looking to have the race sewn up when striking on over a furlong out, only to hang left and get overhauled late on. What he did for 90% of the race at Newbury is rare to see in such a handicap, and you can expect Josephine Gordon will be trying to play him as late as possible, though with plenty of interesting types in opposition, he is perhaps one to take on.
It was hard not to be impressed by Taurean Star’s winning return at Yarmouth this month, showing his effectiveness at this trip, and winning with a bit more in hand than the neck winning margin suggests. The handicapper has only raised him 2 lb for that success, and the demands of this race should suit this strong-travelling type down to the ground. His jockey Jamie Spencer often splits opinion with punters, but there aren’t many jockeys who ride Ascot’s straight course better than him.
Remarkable is another four-year-old, but unlike the majority in this field, he sits towards the top end of the weights thanks to a good campaign last year. He won his first two starts, and wasn’t beaten far in all his races afterwards, including in the Jersey Stakes and Balmoral Handicap at this course. A strongly-run seven-furlongs will suit him fine and he has to be high on the shortlist under a good-value claimer in Kieran Shoemark. John Gosden’s other runner GM Hopkins goes well here too, winning the Hunt Cup in 2015 and making a winning reappearance in a listed event last season (both at 1m). He largely struggled after that success last season, and he faces no easy task off top weight here, but his record when fresh offers hope of a worthy display.
Other notable contenders include Above The Rest, who was put up 7 lb for winning a handicap at Chester on his final start last season, but he shaped as though he’s plenty more to offer this year when an eye-catching fourth on return at Ripon last month. The step back up to seven furlongs will suit and he has to have a chance. George William proved he’s cut out for big-field handicaps when finishing well from a long way back in the Spring Cup (head behind Fastnet Tempest) last time and he may not have done improving yet. Kadrizzi brings some solid all-weather form to the table and won a six-furlong handicap here in August, so should be thereabouts if proving as effective at this trip back on turf.
Outback Traveller was sent off second favourite in this race last year and it’s hard to think he only finished mid-field considering he travelled smoothly to the front two furlongs out. He went on to win the Wokingham on his next start and, though he has a fair record when fresh, and has won over C&D, all roads could lead to the Royal Meeting again for him. Donncha is a standing dish in these top-end handicaps and he should give his running again, though he is more or less summed up by his mark, and will again likely prove vulnerable from a win perspective.
A fly in the ointment could perhaps be Kevin Ryan’s Ride Like The Wind, who is making his belated handicap debut aged five. A €75,000 purchase from France in October, he has shown some useful form in a couple of listed events in recent months, but a mark of 102 could prove generous if returning to the smart form he was capable of in France, and with the excellent Lewis Edmunds’ taking 5 lb off, he needs considering.
In summary, this is an expectedly competitive renewal, but Taurean Star is the one who stands out, he shapes like the type that will thrive in this big-field scenario, and he looked better than ever when winning cosily on his return this month.
Recommended bet: Back Taurean Star in the Victoria Cup at 16/1