Chester - At The Races

Northern Angle: Boodles May Festival

    Sky Sports Racing presenter Simon Mapletoft shines the spotlight on some of the leading contenders from the north at this week's Boodles May Festival at Chester in the first of his Northern Angle series.


Stellar Group Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes (5f)

Richard Fahey’s colt was well supported to win the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster and duly obliged with a professional performance under former champion jockey Paul Hanagan, who keeps the ride on the Roodee. That form has worked out well, with runner-up Strong Power winning at Lingfield and the third, Zulu Zander, scoring twice. The son of Showcasing is strong and professional enough to defy a 3lb penalty and a wide draw to confirm his undoubted promise.

Boodles Diamond Handicap (5f)

David O’Meara has a tough, progressive young sprinter on his hands in Leodis Dream who made it four wins in a row with smart re-appearance performances at Thirsk and Sandown this spring. He shrugged off a 4lb rise in nonchalant fashion at the Esher track last time and can make light of an identical increase from a fair attacking draw here. O’Meara’s speedy son of Dandy Man, who is in the Investec Dash at Epsom next month, is ground versatile having won in easy conditions as well as on good to firm. The predicted good going at Chester won’t blunt his speed.

HR Owen Maserati Handicap (7f)

Gin In The Inn has a good record fresh, having won at the first attempt in 2017 and 2018. However, he looked as though he might come on for his recent re-appearance at Ripon when he ran well to be fifth in a competitive 6f handicap. A close second in this race two years ago, the six-year-old has been eased 1lb for that effort and has been granted a plum draw in stall three. Richard Fahey has also chosen to take advantage of the talented Sean Davis’s 5lb claim which leaves him on a dangerous mark.


Gateley PLC Handicap (5f)

Signs are that Copper Knight could be ready to hit his peak as a five-year-old and he can repeat his win at the Boodles May Festival in 2017 after making a solid start to the new campaign at Musselburgh. He did well to finish fourth that day from an uncompromising position. That performance didn’t escape the handicapper’s attention - the son of Sir Prancealot must shoulder top weight after a 3lb rise - but Tim Easterby’s gelding is drawn to attack in stall one and warrants respect.

TMT Group Handicap (1m4 1/2f)

Tom Dascombe was reportedly considering a tilt at the Cheshire Oaks after this filly’s impressive comeback win in a Newbury maiden last week but has set his sights on handicaps for the time being. She made a mockery of her mark of 80 at Doncaster on Saturday and can follow up under a 6lb penalty with Richard Kingscote taking over from stable apprentice Jane Elliott. The lightly-raced daughter of Camelot relished the step up to this trip on Town Moor and can help maintain Dascombe’s fine record at the Boodles May Festival.


Boodles Diamond handicap (1m2 1/2f)

A Group 3 Rose of Lancaster winner for Mark Johnston in 2017, this son of Frankel looks poised to capitalise on a tempting handicap mark after shaping well on his seasonal and stable debut for David O’Meara at Ripon last month. He only ran out of steam deep inside the final furlong when collared by the match fit King’s Advice at the Garden Racecourse and re-appears on the same mark over a shorter trip that is arguably his optimum.

Sportpesa Chester Cup Handicap (2m2 1/2f)

Mark Johnston’s colt ran some solid races in defeat last season after scoring at this meeting but looks equipped to take his form to a new level as a four-year-old and has what it takes to win Chester’s richest race. He re-appeared to spreadeagle a strong field in a valuable race at Musselburgh and, despite a 3lb penalty for that success, is still 5lb well in for his biggest test so far. Johnston has the Ebor and the Irish St Leger in mind for the son of Teofilo who will hopefully be handed a decent draw and has the credentials to appreciate his greatest stamina test so far.

White Oak UK Conditions Stakes (5f)

Newly-crowned King of the Sand Kachy is just as potent around Chester and can repeat his run-away success in this race last year when he took his unbeaten Roodee record to three from three. Despite his penalty, Tom Dascombe’s speed machine is well clear of his rivals on official ratings and has proven around the sharp turns at Lingfield Park that he is versatile enough to win from any draw. This looks an ideal stepping stone to the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock Park later in the month.