Grateful thanks to Sweet for their 1974 hit, neatly providing our musical headline for Day 2 of the Chester May meeting, five races from which are being broadcast by ITV.
First up at 1.45 is our favourite nightmare, a Chester 5f handicap aka the Satchell Moran Solicitors Business Interruption Claims Handicap (would you believe?), which will doubtless be over by the time the commentator has managed to name it.
We can do no better than advise a win bet on Jabbarockie at 11-4, as this 8-y-o has the plum draw and comes here after winning a similar event at Musselburgh last month. With a lot of the ‘usual suspects’ seemingly out of form, Eric Alston‘s charge may well do the biz.
The Listed Dee Stakes at 2.15 is next up and the seven strong field is headed by, surprise, surprise, horses trained by Charlie Appleby and Aiden O’Brien. We are going to take the big guns on with the very promising Foxes Tales, trained by Andrew Balding. This son of Zoffany stayed on stoutly to get the better of a Johnny G special at Newbury last month, with the third horse 8 lengths away. Said 3rd horse was Alfaadhel which won a good quality Maiden here yesterday and the step up in trip this afternoon could unlock even more improvement. At 11-2, we recommend an each way bet.
Back to handicaps at 2.45 for the Deepbridge Planning Services Handicap over just short of a mile. Fav for this is Aquaman at 11-4, but a look at a race over CD last September will tell you that Aquaman finished 6th, over 2 lengths behind Master Zoffany (5th) and yet has to concede 9lbs today. No surprise, therefore, that we advise an each way punt on Master Zoffany at a juicy 14-1.
The Group 3 Tote Ormonde Stakes at 3.15 sees the reappearance of multi-Group race winning Japan, trained over the water by you-know-who and installed as the 15-8 favourite. On official ratings, this 5-y-o shouldn’t get beaten, but appeared to lose his form completely last year and is also trying a new trip. We must oppose and, with a ‘dead eight’ field we’ll take a chance on Sonnyboyliston at 9-1. Johnny Murtagh‘s 4-y-o has the look of a big improver and should relish the step up to today’s trip after staying on strongly over 10 furlongs last time out.
Final race for home viewers is the Destination 2 Handicap at 3.45 which has a very competitive look about it. Richard Fahey looks to have a strong hand in this and, of his two, we prefer the chances of Al Madhar, the mount of Big Jim. To say this 4-y-o was given a quiet introduction at Thirsk 3 weeks ago would be an understatement (“Have you checked that with our Lawyers?” “Yeh, no problem”) and, on much more suitable ground and the right trip this afternoon, you never know, an improved performance may be forthcoming.
Have an each way bet at 15-2.
Like yesterday, ITV are throwing in a jump race, this time the 2.30 at Worcester and we hope our selection fares better than Lalor, which unfortunately went lame after jumping eight fences. Our pick in the race, the Mental Health Awareness Handicap Hurdle, is Holly James, the mount of Wedgie. HJ showed distinct signs of life last time out when wearing a visor for the first time and, if the headgear works again, this is a well handicapped horse. 15-2 is available – get on.
Jabbarockie 1.45 Chester 2pts win @ 11-4
Foxes Tales 2.15 Chester 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (2 places)
Master Zoffany 2.45 Chester 1pt e/w @ 14-1
Sonnyboyliston 3.15 Chester 1pt e/w @ 9-1
Al Madhar 3.45 Chester 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (4 places)
Holly James 2.30 Worcester 1.5pts e/w @ 15-2