Good evening from the Major who writes from the comfort of the drawing-room with curtain pulled and decanter breathing. Worcestershire has a reprieve from the sheets of unending water falling from the heavens, cool beer is in hand, the wine comes later – The Major is content.
There will be a Saturday tipping service as normal but as a special request, I am running my eye over the Chester card. I am going to look at every race and hopefully the draw and ground bias will give us some value. This post is dedicated to the Millards who I hope have a marvelous time on the Roodee.
What nonsense weather we have endured… I wish you some dryness, a cool breeze and no sun – Ideal racing conditions!
If we get a prolonged good spell of weather now, it might start to play havoc with the early season form. All horses this season have been largely running on deep ground, when that eventually changes, we could be in for some shocks.
The ground is only officially good to soft which is surprising and I wonder if the course are being generous to conditions so as not to put off connections of horses who do not want it so soft.
Still, I am looking for horses to get their toes in and as we all know – The draw at Chester is crucial, particularly in the sprints. We want horses that have won at tight tracks, the ability to corner here is essential. Front runners also do well given the run in off the final bend is so short. You want a good draw, a horse that will break well and exploit it by being prominent, easy right? Shall we see…
2.15 Maiden Auction Stakes
What a way to start with a maiden auction, limited evidence to find the sort of bet I am after.
Although no bookie has priced up the market yet, I would anticipate Boom and Bloom going off an odds on favourite based on a firm Betfair market. She has made two pleasing starts, particularly the last at Carlisle and probably has the pick of the form, clearly of interest.
Mandy Lexi is likely to be next in the betting. This is a horse that failed to win in five starts for the Smart yard and has been moved on. However, two runs on soft, yielded two places which suggests the ground will hold no fears. Clearly the most experienced in the field, perhaps a chance of scenery will have the desired effect. Likely SP 7/4, with every chance.
The market is likely to be quite skinny about these two though and in a race of it’s kind (dubious), the Major prefers to keep the stakes low and find something to throw a bit of a surprise at a tastier price. I do not think either of these horses look reliable enough to justify their odds although if forced I would say Boom and Bloom is the likeliest winner on what we have seen.
Call me wild but I am not giving up hope based on a single run for Annie Besant, the rank outsider in the field. Based with a trainer who rarely has one prepped for an initial run, I am sure better can come. The horse is a half-sister to the 90+ rated Cubanita. I expect 33/1 or 50/1 and while I am not advising a major bet, neither do I think the required improvement is beyond question.
2.50 Chester – Tips for the 6f Handicap
For non regular race folk, you will notice a lot of runners at Chester bearing silks of a natty grey with a silvery orange star. These colours belong to Dr Koukash who runs three in this handicap. He is a colourful character who has a real rags to riches story – He aims an awful lot of his considerable string at this track, though has few truly top class horses.
He does have three of the first four favourites in this race though.
The Major is only interested in those with a low draw. My Kingdom is discounted on the wide draw which is a shame as the horse has been consistently running well.
Arganil is of some interest. 14/1 prices in some of the inconsistencies you get – The horse has put in some shocking displays since winning a decent enough contest at Thirsk some five runs back. The temptation is there but the horse has a running style that is not going to suit this track. Although well drawn, expect Arganil to drop right in, he could well hit every dead end on the route to disaster. With a bit of luck though…..
That said, the Major instead is going to tip Captain Maddox at 11/2. Well drawn and likely to be fine with the surface, I would expect a decent run. Again some poor runs this season might put you off but the return to Chester is a big plus and the horse placed in this race last year racing off a slightly higher mark. Plenty in favour, have a slice, thank me later.
3.25 City Plate Listed Contest
Once again Dr Koukash has the top of the market horse, Our Jonathan. You need to put a line through the last run at Newcastle but his Ayr Gold Cup win is as good as anything else has to offer in the field. He does love to be held up though and so any bet on this favourite comes with the risk that he will need the breaks.
In an intriguing contest, last years winner Majestic Myles turns up too. Recent Newmarket form is decent and he could take all the beating.
Finally Royal Rock looks a danger on his recent Group 1 form from Ascot. The best of the globes sprinters turned up that day and although the form is hard to assess given the ground and prevailing conditions, it is strong and shows what the horse is capable of. The problem is that surely the horse was tuned up for that and this tight track is a world apart. Very dangerous but overlooked, I just wonder if that last run was the best we will see again of this fine horse. It might be hard to get him back to that condition again at this stage of his career.
On balance, 7/2 Majestic Myles gets the Majors tip – I am sure a big run will come and although Our Jonathan probably has the form edge and will be carrying on when others have cried enough, my selection should have the advantage of a prominent position.
Gassin Golf was hit with a ten pound rise for his Haydock win and that might be a bit much for him to lump round this tight track.
Monshak though looks a sort that will get better and better. I wasn’t sure the late run at Chepstow was to do with being caught for toe, after all she had 12f and heavy ground so speed was hardly the issue. Instead I think it more likely that the filly ran a bit green. 3/1 is not as generous as I hoped but the tip reeks of potential. It is an odd track to take her too and that dents my confidence, she might not like it at all!
Chief concern to my selection is Ruacana whose latest run has been well franked and the two previous wins give this Cape Cross gelding plenty of hope. More experienced.
As a final mention, Singalat is not a 16/1 shot in my view. Still the tip remains Monshak.
4.35pm Chester – 1m 2f Handicap
As I write, the market is 5/1 the field reflecting the open nature of this handicap.
The Major has a tip of 25/1 pricing in this in likely outsider Oriental Cavalier.
Now, I will be honest, I have had a drink. I accept that some imagination is required. Consider…
Firstly, it is the only horse in the race that has actually won at Chester. This track is unique and that counts a lot. Now he has had six starts on course so one win is skinny but he has placed on a further three occasions so we know the track suits.
His handicap mark has dropped as a result of the poor runs since last summer… I don’t know, I just smell a better run and sometimes story > fact.
5.10pm 6f Handicap
The obvious place to go here is Tango Sky who won in decent enough style last time and may well be equipped to overcome the rise in the handicap from a decent draw.
Towbee is a horse I want on my side but is wide enough and probably has not got the gas to weave a way through the field.
Dark Ages might still have enough left in the locker to defy the best part of a stone rise in the weights since the latest winning run started and is of interest.
The Major though is going for 8/1 shot Aquasulis. If the selection can get away sharply, I think this highly tried sort might give a good account. Not one to be over-confident about…
5.45 – The Lucky Last
French import Eternal Gift is an interesting runner and if the money came, I would be one to jump on board.
Gaul Wood is the favourite and I suspect that this one will be popular. Currently 7/2, I suspect the horse will go shorter.
Despite this, I want to tip up Lolita Lebron. I won’t but I want to. This horse won on the track last time out and that is a massive plus. That day she had one horse on her inside as the stalls opened and she became prominent and scored. Tomorrow she has eight horses to get round or through and I am sorry but coupled with the weight rise, over-ruled.
The Major is back to the favourite for the tip. Gaul Wood is 7/2 and although off track since a Lingfield win, the break is no concern and I think we have a tremendous price on our hands – Have a chunky slice…
To all at Chester have a great day – I hope the tips are profitable and above all, enjoy the spectacle – The Chester folk love racing and make sure that the day is of the right atmosphere… party.