Wednesday brings the start of the highly anticipated Chester May festival, but there are plenty of jump and flat Meetings across the country as Nathan Joyes takes you through …
“Zeyaadah may be undefeated and her victory in a listed race at Newmarket over a mile was impressive. But her previous runs at Beverley and Chelmsford were events of class 5, which makes her profile less attractive on closer inspection. “
After a two-year wait, the Chester’s May Festival is back. Can Zeyaadah go undefeated and land the 14:15 Cheshire Oaks? Will the floor prevent Wirko from completing a hat trick in the 15:15 Vase Stakes? Can the well-supported Uncle Jumbo achieve the 3:45 pm handicap? Everything is revealed on one exciting day in both flat and jump races.
And that’s exactly what Wednesday brings – a perfect mix of races today with something for everyone. There are three vaulting meetings in Newton Abbot, Kelso and Fontwell, while Gowran Park and Chester have daytime flat races before we conclude with a visit to Kempton on Wednesday.
Along with many meetings over the past year, the Chester Festival was due in May the Covid-19 pandemic. It may not get the nice weather it deserves, but it’s back on our screens this time as ITV will be showing a strong looking card on opening day.
The first of two Class 1 events is 14:15 Cheshire Oaks, where the market is dominated by Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain 3.55 / 2 and Roger Varian’s undefeated Zeyaadah at 3.7511 / 4.
Frankie Dettori rides Loanctable You 4.57 / 2 for John Gosden, during Aidan O’Brien’s Nicest 5.59 / 2 rounds off the hopefuls of the main market.
Although the Dubai Fountain opened as an easy favorite, it has not yet won a race – it has also never gone a mile further. Even so, all of their races were in Class 1 races and were last seen fourth on the Fillies’ Mile on soft ground in Newmarket. She could be well beaten.
Zeyaadah may be undefeated and her victory in a listed race at Newmarket over a mile was impressive. However, her previous runs at Beverley and Chelmsford were class 5 events, which makes her profile less attractive on closer inspection. Currently 35.0 for the Cazoo Oaks, Zayaadah’s chances can fluctuate either way depending on how she performs this afternoon.
The second Class 1 event is the Chester Vase at 3:15 p.m. with only the six runners would like to apply for their credentials for the Epsom Derby in June.
The race had some late withdrawals from the mighty Ballydoyle stable as Sir Lamorak and his colleague San Martino were both declared non-runners on Tuesday due to the race . The move came when Chester received 26mm of rain overnight, obviating the early recommended report from good to firm, increasing the likelihood of softness in the description for the first meeting of the year.
That makes Wirko 2,757 / 4 the current favorite for Charlie Appleby, who started the flat season with a flyer. On a late move, Appleby’s three-year-old got up at a Class 1 under 1 m2f event at Epsom when he was last seen in April. This appears to be the strongest form in the lineup. The question mark about Wirko is whether the step in the journey will fit – not long before we find out.
Alan is back today with a 10/1 doubles, which includes the big race of the day in Chester. His first pick, however, is at Newton Abbot, where he believes there is a horse that cannot be defied in the curtain.
With such a focus on Chester, the class 2 handicap chase is at 2:30 pm O’clock in Newton Abbot went slightly under the radar.
The formidable Bryony Frost takes over Paul Nicholls’ warm favorite in Eritage, which opened at 4:25 a.m. in the sports betting.
After a wind operation in June 2020, Eritage returned from one Break back from 237 and won at Ludlow before taking a solid third place at Newbury. Both runs came over 2m, and the step to 2m5f clearly worked for the seven-year-old who had won over course and distance last month.
Eritage is moving up in class on his return to the track today. The way he won last time, however, clearly won over a lot of players he’ll be up against again.
Another distance and distance winner in today’s lineup is Dan Skelton’s Marracudja, the one yesterday Evening at 7.06 / 1 took part in the betting. Another horse that underwent wind surgery last year, 10-year-old Skelton has made some valiant efforts since then, finishing third at Wetherby and Hereford before taking a strong second place at Ascot on today’s trip in March. However, the form book shows that Skelton’s veteran prefers firmer ground.
His 2016 win at Newton Abbot was a three-runner affair, and when he visited two years later, he dropped Bryony Frost on soft ground and showed none Shape on the surface.
The 11-year-old Drumlee Sunset is an underdog in the race for 17,016 / 1, who won in May 2018 after a 78-day break at today’s venue.
Trainer Tom George is due to his Age has often ridden his veteran for over a few months, but don’t let that fool you as he has won twice in his last four runs. He was a distant third when he was last seen in March, but that came from a huge 767 day absence that may have blown away a few cobwebs. He’s definitely worth a look in the market.
Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore has four rides in Chester on the opening day of the festival today, and there’s one horse he’s especially looking forward to.
Our man Tony Calvin shared his ante-post thoughts with us earlier this week, and his only picks run in the Chester Vase Stakes depending on weather conditions …
Andrew Balding has had a 21.5% strike rate over the past 10 years in Chester for a profit of £ 60.15 on a £ 1 stake. Today he has three runners with Imperial Force 2:45 p.m., Youth Spirit 3:15 p.m. and Kingsofthemidlands 4:15 p.m.
Race tipster Rhys Williams checked today’s cards and selected a horse trained by Colin Tizzard to beat Nicky Henderson’s favorites at 3:35 p.m. Now I don’t want to get used to logging out with a gossip, but after speaking to some racing experts in the industry, Nicky Henderson’s announcement that Altior will be keeping Altior in training for another year does little Sense.
Altior, who has certainly spent his day in the sun, will continue to train at the ripe old age of 12. Many believed he would retire a month later after winning Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2019 or a month later after winning Celebration Chase in Sandown.
He has run only four times in the past two years, and He lost three of those runs if the odds were – a real indicator Altior might have had his day.
You wouldn’t go to a retirement home and force your grandparents to run a 5K, so I am I’m not sure why Nicky Henderson is forcing the problem with Altior. I’ll catch you tomorrow with this picture stuck in my head.
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