What are the best bets in the Chester Cup?
The feature race on the Roodeye (due off 3.10pm) has attracted a field of 19 and while it may seem a strange to say of a 2m2f race, half of them are seriously compromised by the draw with results showing that low numbers are heavily favoured.
That’s not to say a horse drawn high cannot win and, indeed, four of the last ten winners were drawn in double figures, but the other six all emerged from stall 5 or lower and backing all runners from such a draw would have produced a profit of £29 to £1 level-stakes.
That’s bad news for last year’s runner-up Quick Jack, who is going to need a huge slice of luck in running from stall 16 if he is to go one better, though he will have the services of Ryan Moore, while the fancied pair of Gabrial’s King (17) and Moonrise Landing (19) are also up against it. You pays your money and you takes your chances with them.
But for connections of STEVE ROGERS the draw has been kind as he will exit from stall three, and there’s plenty more to like about the five-year-old’s chances. Steadily progressive last season when he won five times, including a handicap over slightly shorter here in September, he looked better again when winning very readily by over three lengths at Kempton on his reappearance.
A 6lb rise for that effort was needed to get into this race and it could well be a stepping stone to greater things as his trainer Roger Varian believes he will develop into a “proper Cup horse” this season and has given him an entry in the Ascot Gold Cup. In which case, he has to be seriously competitive here off his 94 rating and given his profile – he’s the right age at five, has course form in the book and is guaranteed to stay – he looks a very strong favourite indeed with Andrea Atzeni, who won on him at Sandown last June, back on board.
The temptation is always to find one at a price in a race of this nature but in the case of the selection I have no qualms about taking the 4/1 as I believe he has a much better chance of winning than that.
Of the rest, Simon Crisford’s Gang Warfare is respected as he’s won his last four, all on the all-weather and in decisive style. However, that has caught the attention of the handicapper and the five-year-old is now up to 104, having started his winning run off 75, meaning he has to shoulder top weight of 9st 10lb. That looks a real stopper and I’d rather have a little each-way on JOHN REEL at the current 16/1 as he’s a handy racer with a low weight and is well drawn in stall five to boot. Let’s get greedy and stick him in a forecast with the favourite.