two dawns on the Roodee for the Chester May Festival. Thursday is Ladies Day,
I’ve been and it is great fun even if some of the girls do stretch the
definition of ‘ladies’ a little.
Day one didn’t go to plan for me. Alluringly looked to be going well but couldn’t go with Enable and finished second to the Gosden trained filly that it has to be said won the Listed Cheshire Oaks in good style. Watersmeet was also gong well for a long way in the 2m2f Chester Cup and looked the winner over two out but was run down and headed inside final furlong with nothing left the last few yards finishing a gallant sixth about 2½ lengths behind the winner Montaly.
It’s the usual mix of quality Pattern Class heats and tricky handicaps on Thursday but I have two I hope will pay for the day.
The Group Three Huxley Stakes at 2.25 is a tricky little six-runner affair with five of the sextet in with realistic chances. Aiden O’Brien named Deauville as one of his raiding party earlier this week and he duly lines-up in the named target race here. Tried at the very top level last year, a Grade One winner in America, the front running tactics tried in the G.2 Gordon Richards Stakes last month, run down by Ulysses, should be employed again today and he should have enough to hold this line-up off. You can get 2-1 with Hills and Power and I have it.
The Group Three Chester Vase Stakes at 3.35 is the main dish of the day. Cunco is out again having won a slightly messy looking G.3 Classic Trial at Sandown and will be fancied by some. Aiden O’Brien has won a record seven renewals of this race, including the last four, and he and ‘the lads’ aren’t messing about this year having sent over four: Finn McCool, The Anvil, Venice Beach and Wings Of Eagles.
Venice Beach has had this as a target for a while and you had to like the way he won at Tipperary last time. Lightly raced so it is assumed there is better to come from the son of Galileo and Danedrop but he was held-up coming late in that win and that’s not a great running style for this track; the colt is the pick of a certain Ryan Moore. The Anvil arrives off the back of his maiden win at Dundalk in March and the colt looked to appreciate the step-up to 1m2f there; was effectively used as a pacemaker in the G.1 Racing Post Trophy last back end but before that was twice placed in Group company as a juvenile. Officially top rated of the O’Brien quartet he also has the plum draw in stall one and as he was ridden prominently in his last two starts I would expect to see the same tactic employed here. At 7-1 he is my pick. Finn McCool and Wings Of Eagles appear to be the lesser lights of the four but have to be respected all the same.