Day 3 of the Boodles Chester Festival has arrived, with the feature, as usual, the Chester Cup Handicap at 3.15.

A smaller than usual field of 14 is due to line up, perhaps making the effect of the draw less important, although a double figure Trap would still not be ideal.

Fortunately, our main hope for the race is drawn nicely in two and goes by the name of Coltrane. (In case anyone is wondering about the headline, Cracker was a TV series in which Robbie Coltrane played a shrink nicknamed Fitz – there, glad that’s over.)

The horse called Coltrane is trained by Andrew Balding and racked up a hat-trick of wins over a distance of ground as a 3-y-o. Just two runs in an injury plagued season followed, but it looks like the 5-y-o is back to its best now, with two promising tunes-up at Kempton. Clearly a ‘lay out’, we should have a decent each way bash at 5-1.

The other fairly obvious ‘lay out’ is Solent Gateway, already an easy winner on this course last season over two miles, when trained by the ill-fated Tom Dascombe. Now with Hugo Palmer from the same address, SG ran a very promising seasonal debut over 12 furlongs at Epsom and will be absolutely spot on this afternoon. We recommend a win bet at 4-1.

Finally, we can’t leave this race without recommending an each way tickle on dear old Reshoon at 25-1. If he’s in the mood……….

Coverage starts with the Earl Grosvenor Handicap at 1.30, which has a highly competitive look about it.

We throw two darts at this – the consistent and likeable Boardman and the rejuvenated Red Mirage, another from the Andrew Balding yard. Back them both each way at 9-2 and 8-1 and keep digits crossed.

The Deepbridge Handicap at 2.05 has been reduced to just seven runners and looks a good opportunity for CD winner Baryshnikov to follow up its smooth win over yesterday’s handicap snip Pride Of America off just 5lbs higher. Have a win bet at 3-1.

The Group 2 Huxley Stakes at 2.40 has an odds-on fav in Megallan which we are not of a mind to oppose, so enter the Spanish Archer and on to the Boodles Conditions Stakes at 3.45.

This 5f affair is dominated in the betting by Flaming Rib and King’s Lynn at 5-4 and 13-8 respectively.

While this may be the 1-2 come 3.46, both these beasties carry 6lb penalties and both are 6f horses, so we suggest a sporting each way bet on the out-and-out speedster Blue De Vega at 18-1 – well, you never know.

Just the statutory jumps race to go, this time the 1.50 at Market Rasen, which has a field of 7.

We hope to see Railway Muice continue its love affair with this track (2-2) under Tom Scudamore and suggest a win bet at 9-2.

Back, yet again, tomorrow.


Coltrane 3.15 Chester 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1 (5 places)

Solent Gateway 3.15 Chester 2pts win @ 9-2

Reshoon 3.15 Chester 1pt e/w @ 25-1 (5 places)

Boardman 1.30 Chester 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places Hills/Coral)

Red Mirage 1.30 Chester 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places Hills/Coral)

Baryshnikov 2.05 Chester 2pts win @ 3-1

Blue De Vega 3.45 Chester 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (3 places Skybet)

Railway Muice 1.50 Market Rasen 2pts win @ 9-2

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