Final day of the Chester May meeting has the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes as its centrepiece at 3.35, with an unusually large field of 12 due to go to post. Just about half the runners will welcome some of the wet stuff that is forecast to visit the Roodeye, so there may be some non-starters if it remains dry.
Favourite in all books at around 9-4 is an Irish dodge-pot called US Army Ranger, trained by (you guessed it) Aiden O’Brien. Winner of the Chester Vase at this meeting last year after team riding tactics, the son of Galileo subsequently finished second in the Epsom Derby, but went on to be beaten at short odds in all four races since, including this season’s debut run. Frankly, I wouldn’t trust this animal with 5p, even though it is well clear on official ratings, so, if you want a bet in this race, try a small e/w on Red Verdon at 8-1.
The Homeserve Dee Stakes at 2.25 is the other main race on the card, a Listed contest over a mile and a quarter and Mr O’Brien again supplies the favourite in the shape of Cliffs of Moher at a very skinny 4-6. This colt lies third in the Epsom Derby market at 8-1 but will have to win this race turning handsprings to justify that price, having only won a Leopardstown maiden last October, albeit by 5+ lengths.
Much has been made of the exploits of the horse he beat that day, which has easily won both starts this season, but that horse is a completely different proposition as a 3-y-o from the clueless 2-y-o in 2016.
Thus we look elsewhere to justify the headline.
The value bet in this race has to be the Charlie Appleby trained Bay of Poets, available e/w at a working man’s 6-1. This colt competed at Group 1 level after winning his maiden and, although not quite good enough for that lofty company, showed that the trainer’s opinion wasn’t far off when running a storming race at Epsom in April, when third behind Cracksman and Permian. The former sits as second favourite for the Epsom Derby while the latter followed up by winning a Newmarket Listed race by 41/2 lengths.
Drawn in Trap1 and ideally suited by today’s trip, the advice is: get on.
The card is top and tailed by two competitive handicaps and we suggest you ‘dutch’ both of them.
The Crabbie’s Earl Grosvenor Handicap at 1.50 has El Hayem from Sir Michael’s yard as favourite at 15-8 and, as with our pick Khairaat yesterday, this is a typical 4-y-o ‘improver’ so the starting point is a win bet on Andrea Atzeni’s mount.
Additionally, have a modest e/w sum at 8-1 on James Eustace’s consistent trier Ice Slice, which definitely needed its come-back effort and should be spot on today.
The DW Sports Apprentice Handicap at 5.05 closes the meeting and two e/w bets leap off the page. Warp Factor (5-1) and Michael’s Mount (8-1) are the two geldings in question and, while you are at it, throw in an Exacta.