What are the best bets for Chester on Friday?
It’s the last day of the Chester May meeting and here are my thoughts on the four Channel 4-televised races.
14:10 Crabbie’s Earl Grosvenor Handicap, 7f122y
A competitive opener to say the least but ARCHIE looks sure to be involved. He looked a decent prospect when winning on his racecourse debut at Haydock in the 2014 season when trained by Tom Dascombe, only for injury to intervene, and his three runs last term were frankly dismal. However, the switch to Clive Cox has clearly done him the world of good as he raced with real enthusiasm before keeping on into fourth on last month’s reappearance at Kempton. On that evidence, he could be ready to make up for lost time and, off what looks a workable mark of 88 and from a half-decent draw in stall five, he rates the bet at Betfair’s 6/1.
You can make a case of sorts for the majority of his rivals and if pushed to nominate the main danger it would be Richard Fahey’s Gabrial’s Kaka, who is well handicapped on a mark 5lb lower than when winning the 2014 Spring Cup at Newbury (1m). He broke a long losing sequence when scoring at Chelmsford two starts back and will be finishing better than most.
14:40 Betdaq Dee Stakes (Listed), 1m2f75y
Aidan O’Brien is bidding for his fifth success in this race and he is double-handed with Cook Islands, the mount of Ryan Moore and presumably the stable first string after finishing a tired fourth in a Group 3 on his reappearance, and Housesofparliament, who will be ridden by Seamie Heffernan and is better drawn in stall one (his stablemate will exit from eight). But from what we’ve seen so far neither are from the top tier at Ballydoyle and while that’s not to say they won’t be good enough here, I’d rather side with John Gosden’s LINGUISTIC (9/4 bet365).
He showed plenty of promise in two start as a juvenile, finishing second on both occasions, and looked to have improved for his winter break when winning nicely over this trip at the Craven meeting 22 days ago. I’m not sure the form amounts to much as they finished well strung out in the conditions, but the selection was always travelling better than his rivals and once edging to the front he was never going to be caught. He should come again from that and William Buick can make the most of a good draw in stall three.
15:10 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes (Group 3), 1m5f89y
A disappointing turnout for a race won in the past decade by Brown Panther, St Nicholas Abbey and Harbinger, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Dartmouth the highest-rated runner on 114 and he is just 2lb ahead of Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Brave, who is better known for his jumping exploits. The pair dominate the market – bet365 go 7/4 and 10/3 respectively – and the former is just favoured, despite giving 3lb to his rival, as he may be still improving based on an easy Chelmsford success on his reappearance.
However, there is almost certainly better to come too from Aidan O’Brien’s FATHER CHRISTMAS after just four career starts. He was last seen finishing third in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes but he’s reported to be in good form at form – using a Stable Tour as a source – and this race was nominated as his early target. Certainly, this trip on drying ground should suit him well and he’s a very backable 5/1 with bet365 to boot.
15:45 Betway EBF Stallions Handicap, 5f16y
Trainer Tom Dascombe loves to target his local track and while things haven’t gone exactly to plan this week – his Fiery Character was an expensive failure in Wednesday’s Lily Agnes (ouch!) – he could be on the mark here with KACHY. Described as a “seriously fast horse”, he showed that when winning over course and distance on his debut last year and then stepped up again to win the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He was disappointing when finishing stone last at the Craven meeting, but the return to this track, which favours speed, and better ground could see him bounce right back and, while he shoulders top weight, his trainer believes him to be well handicapped on his Goodwood success. A decent draw in stall three is the clincher for a bet at Hills’ 5/2.
I might have been interested in Mark Johnston’s Riflescope as I had him down as a sprinter to follow this season, but he ran an absolute shocker at Sandown on his reappearance when carrying my money (it would be a case of Sod’s Law if he wins today!), and a bigger danger may be the lightly-raced Mount Kiara, who hails from the in form yard of Kevin Ryan.
Fancy some free bets? Back a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any of the above races with bet365 and they will give you a free bet to the same stake (up to £50 per customer per race) on the next race shown live on Channel 4.
All odds were correct at time of posting.